Cloud billing is not a sexy subject. But billing is what keeps our businesses ticking. The challenge many service providers face is how to bill their customers for their cloud services.
Being able to meter and rate usage, whether it is for internal chargeback or simply to demonstrate what department is using what resources, requires 90% of a billing system; it might not send invoices, but it does the same thing. If you are a service provider offering a ‘wrapped cloud offering’ where one invoice is produced at the end of each month, which is not directly correlated to usage, you still need to know how much it is costing you. So, for just about every application of cloud within service providers, billing really matters.
Therefore listen to this podcast, where Tony Lucas discusses Metering and Billing and answers the questions:
– Why do I need Cloud Metering and Billing?
– What options are available to me for being able to Meter & Bill?
– What cloud resources can I bill for?
The key theme at HostingCon 2014 this week was how the hosting industry is changing dramatically. One area of particular focus was whether or not the hosting industry is coming to an end and what happens then?
The panel discussion featuring Philbert Shih – Structure Research, Kenny Li – Cloud Spectator, Al Sadowski – 451 Research and Ashar Baig – GigaOM crystallized the conversations and sentiment heard in conversations throughout the conference:
Is the hosting industry coming to an end? Do hosters need to change and, if so, how?
In my opinion, the hosting industry isn’t coming to an end. Instead, it is forcing hosters and service providers to change. They need to adapt their approach to selling cloud services to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering specific value. They need to consider how they’ll position themselves as the value added service provider against giants like Amazon or Rackspace.
Many of the conversations that we heard focused on the idea of federation and the virtual service provider:
Flexiant are once again attending HostingCon 2014, one of the industries premier events for hosting and cloud providers. Our cloud experts will be there to demonstrate ways service providers can remain competitive and arm themselves with the right tools to compete in the cloud marketplace. Firstly, following our announcement this week, of the general availability of our Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator and Parallels Cloud Server solution, Tony Lucas will be attending to demonstrate the unique integration. Since announcing our integration plans with Parallels earlier in the year, we have had very positive feedback from service providers and hosters looking for the benefits of Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator for IaaS orchestration whilst running it on PCS.
At WHD.global, Tony presented “Why a tight knit ecosystem is critical for service providers to achieve revenue growth.” The interactive session showcased that many of the attending cloud service providers are focused on differentiating themselves by developing an ecosystem of best of breed products and services.
If you want to learn why all service providers should be looking at creating an ecosystem and how to go about it, listen to our podcast below.
“Service providers are too used to selling raw infrastructure without adding distinct value to their end users through differentiation. Whether they are selling to enterprises or SMEs they need to be able to add value through the services that they offer. The simplest way to do that is to work with a variety of companies who can add distinct value over and above infrastructure using an ecosystem who have world class products and capabilities but not necessarily the routes to market and customer base that the service providers have already established.”
This post was inspired by a post from James Urquhart.
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, virtual or physical infrastructure, level? Each of these has potential benefits and concerns depending on a customer’s requirements.
Depending on the customer and the application requirements, it may be quite possible to run parts of it using multi-tenant infrastructure at an application level (e.g. DNS, e-mail), but have a need to run other parts in a single tenant infrastructure (e.g. the database or web server).
Realistically, no customer just wants IaaS intending to run all services themselves. It wants one consistent platform through which it 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.
The challenge until now has been that if you want to run anything at an application level, single tenanted manner you have to build and deploy the application yourself on top of a raw infrastructure platform, unless you can find an ISV offering that service. So to remove the (perceived or otherwise) risks of multi-tenancy, you unfortunately remove some of the benefits around scalability, risk management, knowledge required, etc.