Why your MSP business is doomed if cloud is not a part of your strategy

Hybrid Cloud approach to be more specific. At least, that’s what we are hearing from our MSPs. Channel Market (MSPs) is known for raising anti-cloud propaganda past few years and I personally witnessed MSPs talking about how their customers benefit moving to their own datacenter instead of a cloud platform like Google, Amazon etc…Fast forwarding to 2013, things have really changed w.r.t how MSPs see cloud. Instead of competing with cloud platforms, successful MSPs embrace cloud and include that as a part of their hybrid cloud offering. I would like to mention couple of customers who were offering StoreGrid based backup service out of their datacenter 2 years back and really hated Amazon at that time. I accidentally happened to meet them and surprised to know that they now have their backup service hosted in Amazon EC2 & S3. So what’s up with all those hostility statements against Amazon? “Well, we need to figure out a way to SCALE our business somehow”, I got a blushing response from them. They currently have their customers backing up locally (on-premise) for instant data recovery and additionally backing up to cloud platform for additional redundancy.

There are industry articles that talks about how a cloud backup inflection point is nearing for MSPs. It’s true that this is really happening. Provided the fact that many MSPs are Microsoft shops and when Microsoft is making their moves towards cloud (Office 365) and discontinuing Small Business Servers etc… What options are left for MSPs to compete against those Giants? The reason why still many SMBs like to receive service from local MSPs is because of the personal touch and care they receive which cannot be expected from large commoditized cloud service platforms. However looking around what’s happening, marketing & packaging these cloud companies do for small business, it’s only natural that businesses are curious about cloud. Hence smart MSPs, instead of being anti-cloud are actually embracing cloud for their business and riding on top of the cloud marketing wave. Apart from marketing there are few other materialistic benefits as well.

Let me ask some hard fact questions to MSPs

  1. Is your infrastructure capable of handling growing customer needs and big enough to handle replicated data from multiple customers?
  2. Can you promise your customers the SLAs they are expecting and compliance they need (PCI / HIPAA / SOX / ISO etc…)
  3. Are you in a position to promise the redundancy that other public cloud companies are promising? (99.99999999% availability)
  4. Do you have enough support personnel to manage your infrastructure and ensure proper upgrades in a timely manner?
  5. How about repeating points 1 – 4 for the next 5 – 10 years?
  6. Are you making enough profit margins and end with predictable monthly infrastructure cost?

If your answers for the above questions is a confident ‘YES’, then you are doing a great job and continue to do what you do right now. If not, then it’s high time that you should start making your move to cloud - at-least for backup and disaster recovery. Look around; the market is changing and cloud transformation is happening. At Vembu, we enable MSPs to establish a successful hybrid backup offering based on cloud (Amazon EC2 & S3) and you can start your branded backup service offering on Amazon in less than 10 mins. I am sure you do have some normal set of questions to begin with, like bandwidth requirement for uploading large volume of data to the cloud and performing restore on typical internet bandwidth. With regards to those questions, Amazon is offering a service called AWS Import / Export, where you can backup locally to an USB / Flash Drive and send the disk to Amazon Servers so that the initial backup can be seeded and thereafter you can continue incremental backups over WAN (End to End logistics is handled through Vembu). For disaster recovery, you can actually use the backed up data to bring up a new server on Amazon infrastructure (Disaster Recovery on Cloud) or order the restored data shipped to you / your customer’s place. Since this would be a hybrid cloud approach, data will be available locally for instant recovery and if that too crashes then disaster recovery option on cloud can be considered. Vembu also allows you to deploy an on-premise backup server at customer’s location with replication to Amazon S3 for offering a hybrid cloud approach.

What about Amazon cloud going down some time last year? Well how many times you had service disruptions in your datacenter – Honestly.

Please note that I am not a cloud evangelist and trying to market our cloud service to you. I just want to pass on the information that we gathered during our various client meets / trade shows on how successful MSPs are using hybrid cloud approach in their managed services offering. In case you have any questions / comments, do let us know.

 

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