How to Prepare for the Cloud Services Revolution

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides a completely encapsulated infrastructure for building and running applications. While everyone knows the basics, we’re still at the very beginning of the revolutionary business models that are now possible with the delivery of fully encapsulated cloud services. It’s clear already that companies that can’t adapt their business models away from legacy on-premise deployments will lose market share.

A Service is like a black box or public utility or an autonomous agent, you don’t have to know how it works inside or what it does behind the scenes, you just have to know how to plug into it, give it instructions and get its results. And of course, you have to know which Service to choose.

Services accelerate businesses by abstracting away undifferentiated work. But what if your business is delivering these Services? There’s a lot more to it than the engineering required to make the Services run.

From cloud services to cloud microservices

Selling Software as a Service (SaaS) sounds great, but it’s only part of the puzzle. Savvy customers also want “microservices” – ones that do just one little thing that they need so they can decide how to deploy it in their applications or processes that could be SaaS, PaaS (Platform as a Service), or IaaS.

Microservices are even harder to deliver than regular cloud services. They require a lot of tuning and coordination by the entity providing the service to maintain service levels. Customers are willing to give up a little control if the Service they get saves them time or money.  For an example, look to Amazon’s RDS (Relational Database Service) – it gives you a pre-packaged SQL server on demand at a good rental price, but it doesn’t let you tweak all the knobs and settings the way you could an on-premise server.  For some database users, that’s a fair trade because it takes the pain out of managing what is an important but not differentiating part of their businesses.

With that in mind, let’s consider the impact of microservices on the channel. To survive this revolution, the channel must have a service-oriented mindset. Services can be composed of bundles of micro-services and not even all from the same vendor. For example, you could get a security solution from one vendor, wrap it around a database in an RDS instance, and sell the resulting package as a secure database service. Nobody needs to know – or care – that the parts are from different vendors.

How do you make the jump to packaged microservices?

  • Engineering, but that’s the easy part
  • Business Operations –  Services are disruptive to ISVs and their traditional channel partners’ go-to-market strategies and operations
  • 24/7 – you’re not shipping boxes or sending out techs anymore, you need a 24/7 sales, service and support setup to keep up with on-demand services
  • SLAs are critical because with all these different vendors behind your services, you need to know what you can expect and what happens when things break down
  • Billing – you want to get paid and make money, but your costs are obscured by the range and complexity of what you’re reselling.

As customers transition to utilizing microservices in their applications, ISVs, and their ecosystems must be ready to provide their products in a way that customers can easily consume them. To survive they need:

  • transparent pricing (often consumption-based)
  • straightforward, fully-automated deployments
  • incentives/discounts based on consumption (tiers)
  • robust support.

Orbitera’s Cloud Channel Manager platform (C2M) provides a solid foundation for companies that need robust tools to meet the new market demands of the Cloud Services Revolution.

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