Cloud management

Managed hosting and cloud computing service provider, Logicworks published a blog recently on why cloud MSPs are software companies. We asked our CTO Alex Bligh and VP of Product Marco Meinardi to comment on it. You can read Alex Bligh’s comments here.

Jason Deck, vice president of strategic development, wrote:

“When your infrastructure is code, the art of developing great software applications and building great infrastructure systems start to look similar…”

I agree that infrastructure has become code and for MSPs, software that consumes infrastructure as code is the new asset replacing the usual hardware sell. Deck discusses why engineers can be trained to perform the basics of cloud management. He uses the example, “It would take multiple, senior-level level automation engineers working for months to develop a script that spins up perfectly configured instances for a variety of applications from scratch. If cloud MSPs can run a script (created beforehand) to spin up a new environment in days, that is a huge value add for enterprises.” This is where I agree that infrastructure-as-code makes automation easier and that automation is required for more experimentation and faster product lifecycle.

This all helps with two things:

  1. the proliferation of products and services that solve very specific problems in the growingly complex world of cloud computing
  2. the exposure of these products and services using API (since they’re practically born to be integrated)

It’s fairly obvious that there is a need for “someone” to write the final piece of software that joins all the dots. According to Deck, this “someone” should be the MSP. And here I slightly disagree to reduce it only to MSPs. They will have a key role in cloud orchestration/automation as they’re fairly used to script ‘things’ to reuse them later on, but programming using API in a scalable fashion is something else, which software vendors are definitely more comfortable with.

The API proliferation will indeed require MSPs to step up and hire more software developers than sysadmins going forward, however the same driver will make software vendors build more and more software that abstracts from the lower layers in the stack and provides added value in form of aggregation and integration for solving specific use cases.

What’s important for software vendors is to be one of these abstraction layers which integrates complex worlds underneath, but still exposes the functionality to potentially even more abstracted software to consume.

Flexible software is great, valuable and a required baseline for any MSP. What comes on top of it? That may be up to the MSP to build.

What do you think? Leave your comments here.

Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator V5

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