Capacity as commodity: The case for rapid provisioning
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In any event, the distinction between managed service providers (MSP) or cloud service providers (CSP), and companies growing in-house capabilities may not be as important as the common need to respond quickly and scale to support customer needs. The challenges facing all of these companies include facilitating the creation of new applications and services while maintaining quality of service, and the need for automation to reduce human resources and error from manual tasks—all with an eye to drive revenue and acquire new customers.
And so, the challenge for service providers of any kind is to increase scalability, automation and uptime while constraining costs. Companies are increasingly solving the critical piece of this puzzle by embracing rapid, high-scale provisioning and key cloud management capabilities to allow them to grow as quickly as their customers’ needs. In particular, the benefits accrue in four key areas.
First, applications can be deployed rapidly across private and public cloud resources.
Second, rich image management tools simplify complex and time consuming processes for creating virtual images and constraining image sprawl.
Third, operational costs can be lowered by leveraging existing hardware to support an array of virtual servers and diverse hypervisors.
And fourth, high-scale provisioning enables rapid response to changing business needs with near-instant deployment of hundreds of virtual machines.
While the spectrum of virtualization to orchestration functionality helps to manage their environments, high-scale provisioning in particular offers a cost-effective way to leverage capacity as a business commodity—a way for service providers to offer seemingly limitless capacity to their customers while lowering the relative costs of providing it.
In the case of Dutch Cloud, a CSP based in the Netherlands, a growing client base allowed the company to expand but it was very conscious of the costs and issues related to scalability, performance and security. By adopting a lightweight, high-scale provisioning solution for core service delivery, Dutch Cloud added capacity easily and was able to scale up rapidly without interruption to customer service. The CSP also reduced its administrative workload by 70 percent by adopting automation best practices. Monthly revenue has tripled twice in the last six months without an increase in operational costs.
Other service providers such as SLTN, a systems integrator serving large and mid-sized businesses, have experienced similar cost savings by extending platform managed services to a cloud delivery model. By implementing a low-touch, highly scalable cloud as its core delivery platform across multiple compute and storage nodes, SLTN was able to deploy new services in seconds rather than hours. It was also able to utilize existing commodity skills without significant training, integrate the existing mixed environment and minimize operational administration and maintenance. The underlying IaaS cloud capabilities allowed SLTN to be more efficient and to provide the full spectrum of cloud services to their own customers in a pay-as-you-go model—with better service and at a lower price point.
The benefits that these companies experienced are evidence that high-scale provisioning and cloud management capabilities can dramatically increase service capacity. For service providers of all stripes—whether deliberate or not—these benefits are a critical part of the evolution of cloud services and offer a meaningful way to deliver more value to themselves and their users.