I recently had a conversation with a Flexiant customer looking at various solutions around bundling groups of services together for its target market. I can’t discuss the specific questions, but it did get me thinking about the overall model of delivering services in a bundled vs. unbundled manner. So what do I mean by unbundled vs. bundled?
By way of an analogy it’s the same concept as picking the food you want a la carte from a menu or choosing a set meal. Most telcos have been using this model for the last few years – bundle your phone, TV and Internet services and save X amount of money. Buy separately and it will cost more.
Flexiant are back again in Germany for WHD 2014 as Diamond sponsors.
WHD is truly a global event, and so far we have had conversations with service providers and hosting companies from across the globe. They have ranged from small startup providers to major telecoms companies looking to deliver cloud services.
The most encouraging thing about this event is the in depth level of conversation we have with service providers and hosters that are looking at ways to grow their business through differentiating and adding value to their customer base.
The first step for service providers to achieve this is to ensure that their existing under lying IT operations are highly automated and orchestrated together to enable them to provide an agile, flexible and highly available service. The great thing to see at WHD this year is that service providers now also equally understand that that is only the first step in driving growth and profit. The next step is for them to find ways to differentiate their service offering through exploiting whatever makes their service unique to its maximum benefit but equally providing a wider range of services to their customers through working with best of breed partners to enable them to be a complete solution to their customers. Read our guide to differentiation to find out more.
I was inspired to write on the topic of services as a platform after reading a blog from James Urquhart, “Enough PaaS vs. IaaS: The cloud is really about Services as a Platform.”
One of the key challenges with public cloud, as far as perception is concerned, is the multi-tenancy problem regarding security, reliability and data privacy.
Of course, the definition of multi-tenancy in a cloud platform itself is confusing. Is something multi-tenant at the application, platform, or virtual infrastructure? Multi-tenancy at the application, platform or virtual infrastructure has potential benefits and concerns depending on customer requirements. And depending on those specific requirements, it may be possible to run parts of the service using multi-tenant infrastructure at an application level (e.g. DNS, e-mail), but run other parts in a single tenant infrastructure (e.g. the database or web server).
Realistically no customer just wants IaaS with the intention of running all the services on top themselves. They want one consistent platform (i.e. a collection of tools and services) through which they can consume services in a utility like manner. This is something service providers just starting to roll out IaaS need to wise up to fairly quickly.
Pardon the nautical references; this blog was inspired by the recent fundraising announcement from Digital Ocean, a relative newcomer to the Cloud Industry.
In a Forbes article, Ben Kepes writes:
DigitalOcean is a strange kind of an infrastructure vendor. With the cloud space typified by massive vendors, one would have thought that after Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace and IBM had used their share of the market there would be nothing left for the small guys. But DigitalOcean challenges that assessment. Since its founding back in 2011, DigitalOcean has grown massively off the back of a “cheap and cheerful” cloud infrastructure service.
Until now the company had only raised a modest $3.2M in funding and yet had expanded to six individual data centers, a 49 person head count and a 30% month-on-month growth rate all fuelled by some high profile customers… And DigitalOcean’s individual growth was actually higher than that of AWS (a gain of 6514 as opposed to 6269 for AWS). Stellar performance indeed! DigitalOcean, in only a couple of years, became the 15th largest hosting company in the world.
Flexiant has always said that the key for service providers to succeed, is to get to market with a mature, stable but differentiated product. Unfortunately that is not as easy as it sounds. If you take an off the shelf software solution, surely that limits the flexibility and differentiation capabilities?
That’s where our plugin system comes in. By having a powerful and mature core platform, with all the key functionalities including compute, network, storage orchestration, right through to metering, billing and customer management you have the core ingredients to get up and running quickly.
By combining that with an easy to use plugin system that then allows a service provider to customize and extend their platform to deliver a differentiated service, the service provider and their customers can get the best of both worlds.