As you enjoy the festive holiday season, we have, alongside some of our select partners, put together a selection of complementary resources to get you ready for 2014. Topics range from why you shouldn’t bet on vCloud Director to the state of the hosting industry.
As 2013 draws to a close, it concludes a transformational year for Flexiant. We were named Gartner Cool Vendor in cloud management in the first half of the year. In the latter half called the ‘magic unicorn of cloud’ by 451 Research.
We launched the fourth version of Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator aimed squarely at helping service providers’ increase profit, revenue and growth from cloud services. We have now opened our platform to make it easier for service providers to develop and create new services right for their business.
We also announced our product roadmap which includes our future support for OpenStack. We believe OpenStack has maturing technology to offer the market, but unfortunately does not meet business requirements. We plan to solve the business challenges associated with the open source cloud management solution.
As we head into 2014, we will continue to see the emergence of new entrants operating at scale through resellers and enterprises preparing for mass migration to cloud service providers.
If you are considering expanding your cloud services through the reseller model, there are 10 ‘must haves’ needed to support this strategy. Smart service providers are already gaining reach through other organizations’ existing relationships and resources by maximizing resellers’ vertical and industry-specific expertise and geographic coverage without requiring heavy investment in sales and marketing. This model offers huge possibilities in terms of revenue growth without significant investment to build your own resources and presence.
Our latest whitepaper outlines the 10 ‘must haves’ for cloud service providers to support a cloud reseller channel. Whether you are looking to resell through a single tier or multiple tier of resellers, these ‘must-haves’ apply. Here is a quick look at one of those ‘must haves’.
Service providers worry about complex metering and billing situations associated with the cloud services reseller model. Where a service provider resells infrastructure to another reseller and then another (a reseller, of a reseller, of a reseller, for example), a cloud orchestration solution that can support the complex nature of billing for this becomes essential. It should easily incorporate full transparency of how resources are metered and billed according to a cloud reseller’s strategy.
Metering needs to be highly granular with the ability to attribute use of resources to each reseller and its customers. The metering and billing must be provided in detail to easily identify cloud usage across all resellers, however many layers, and their customers. One analyst anecdotally commented recently about the importance of this multi-tiered metering and billing model. Without it, your reseller strategy will not get off the ground because you won’t have the capability to meter and bill accurately, which means scalability is not an option.
Our good friend Joe Weinman, author of Cloudonomics and SVP Cloud Services and Strategy at Telx, just presented this morning at GigaOm: Structure Europe (#structureeurope). Some interesting points he discussed included what is or isn’t considered cloud, showcasing that cloud is now common. He highlighted:
I like the simplicity of this description of cloud and how Joe used it to ask ‘Should the cloud matter to CXO?’ He referenced a source that said no, but his argument is that in this increasingly digital world it is obvious to us that of course IT and the cloud are essential therefore the cloud should be very important to CxO.
When it comes to cloud billing, identifying the best option to offer your customers can be quite a head scratcher. As a service provider, you need payment for the services you provide (obviously!), and at the same time, you want your customers to have a clear understanding of what they receive in return for payment.
Simple enough I hear you say, but in reality service providers are not in a position to offer such simple cloud billing solutions because it is a much more complicated and expensive process to solve on your own.
During a recent cloud service market survey conducted by us, initial results show that 70% of the respondents are offering their customers self-service provisioning. Though this is an important capability, some 63% of respondents stated that two such important capabilities to offer their customers in the future would be granular metering and granular billing.
But why wait to offer granular metering and billing, when a cloud orchestration solution that incorporates this functionality and self-service provisioning can do the job right now? Cloud customers expect real-time billing, instant sign-up and their bill to be comprehensive, so they can see, line-by-line, what has been used and in what capacity. At the same time cloud providers expect their billing systems to work at scale, instantly reflect new products or promotions, and be up-and-running as quickly as the service itself. Both of these expectations can be met with cloud orchestration.
For the service provider, cloud orchestration can offer: