The MSP business has fundamentally changed over the past few years. It’s no longer profitable to offer hosted servers and other infrastructure-related services, and MSPs are looking for ways to increase margins. Customers are rapidly moving to the cloud, and hosted cloud services are the way MSPs can compete. Unlike mega-cloud operators like AWS or Google Cloud, MSPs around the world have close working relationships with their customers and are often regional experts. With the right cloud platform, they can offer customized services that go beyond cookie-cutter cloud from the big guys.
But for the MSP, a service-oriented cloud platform must meet certain requirements:
- Easy deployment – MSPs don’t have the resources to hire specialized cloud teams and spend months deploying a cloud platform. An MSP-friendly cloud platform should be deployable in less than an hour by mainstream network admins.
- Low overhead – MSPs likewise lack the resources to devote special teams to cloud administration and management. Mainstream network admins should be able to manage the cloud, and the cloud should virtualize the underlying infrastructure to simplify management, resource allocation and upgrades.
- Multi-cloud visibility – The cloud platform must easily support multi-cloud deployments and provide visibility through a single pane of glass. It eats into margins if each cloud must be separately managed.
- Resource control – Ideally, the cloud platform should enable MSPs to set limits on resource usage per customer to match SLAs while avoiding overconsumption.
- High availability – The platform must include failover and DR mechanisms to ensure reliability that’s at least as robust as public clouds.
- High security for multi-tenancy – The platform should provide fine-grained access control to deliver the flexibility MSPs need to support customers with varying requirements. This means controlling not just company access to the cloud, but enabling discrete access control for business units, teams, and individual users.
- Rapid service and application rollouts – It shouldn’t take weeks to provision and deploy services like DevOps or AI support. The sooner an MSP can deploy services, the shorter the time to revenue.
The solution to these requirements is a self-driving cloud. A self-driving cloud provides low operational overhead due to automated deployment and its built-in, intelligent, self-healing capabilities, and software-defined networking with micro-segmentation. In addition, it includes several powerful features and predictive analytics around capacity planning, utilization monitoring, right-sizing of workloads, showback, demand forecasting, detecting zombie VMs and unused resources. A self-driving cloud can be deployed in less than 30 minutes by standard admins.
Today, regional cloud providers like BlueNova, JTEC, OneinCloud and Titan System Integration have become experts in their markets and are successfully competing against public cloud offerings. They are leveraging self-driving cloud platforms to get the best of both worlds: easy deployment, visibility and control for themselves while providing a public cloud experience to their customers. They have implemented a turnkey service engine that lets them roll out customized, secure, and highly-available private cloud services, so they can sell the right technology to the right customers at the right time.
MSPs must offer cloud services to compete with public cloud, but they can’t break the bank to do it. A self-driving cloud is a low-overhead, high-margin service engine that allows MSPs to tailor cloud services and rapidly roll them out to individual customers. That’s something the public cloud providers can’t deliver.