It is increasingly accepted that at least some of an enterprise’s applications can benefit from residing in the public cloud. For cloud service providers, many of your customers will already understand this, and may well be open to cloud computing as an idea – organizations under pressure to move to an Opex, rather than Capex cost model, or those growing faster than capital investment budget can allow, are strong contenders.
They may however be at a loss as to where to start. Should all applications be migrated to the cloud, or only some? In which order should the applications be moved? Also, implementing any new concept within a business carries an element of risk – how best to ensure that any such risk is planned for and mitigated?
It is one thing to appreciate something as an academic idea, one that analysts and journalists will continue to discuss at length for the foreseeable future – quite another to take the plunge and apply this to a customer’s own business. If your customer views cloud as a long term strategy, you will need to ensure a positive first impression, therefore these early stages are key.
Consider where your customers’ existing applications would sit on the differentiation spectrum: at the left end would be their most commoditized applications, e.g. web, collaboration applications etc.; at the right would be their most highly differentiated, business critical ones, such as legacy, bespoke applications or those most affected by local compliance regulations. Generally speaking, a left to right approach makes most sense, i.e. proving the cloud computing concept for your organization with lower risk, more standardized applications, eventually moving to the more critical ones when it makes sense to do so. Left-of-spectrum applications with highly fluctuating demand are particularly good candidates.
The key to any successful business is making it simple for the user to consume your product. This is no different when selling cars or offering cloud services. Car manufacturers and dealers need to offer a range of options – hybrid, petrol or diesel, saloon or hatchback, family friendly or powerful sports cars – from which their customers can pick, without having to go into lots of detail.
The same holds true for cloud services, and this is where server images become important. By giving your customers a range of server images to choose from you can simplify their user experience and make it easy for them to consume your cloud services. For example, rather than your customers creating a Web server from scratch, they can select from a list of predefined server images, with everything from the operating system up through the software stack already in place. They can then quickly build a Web server from that image.
This post was inspired by an article by David S. Linthicum
“Get big, get niche or get out” is a popular saying in the IT industry, and this is at least as true in the cloud computing market as in any other.
Many service providers know that trying to compete head on with cloud industry giants like Amazon, Microsoft et al, with the economies of scale that they enjoy and the resulting aggressiveness of their pricing, is pointless. Trying to match or beat these prices on a like for like basis while maintaining profitability doesn’t work either – the math simply don’t add up.
If you can’t differentiate on price alone however, you can still differentiate by specialization: