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MSPs Help Bridge the Gap Between Enterprises and Cloud Providers

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The adoption of cloud computing has generally been led by newer and more technologically savvy companies. With the cloud giving them access to nearly limitless computing resources whenever and wherever they’re needed, many of these companies have been given a competitive advantage over larger enterprises with existing systems and procedures in place.

However, as enterprises continue to see the value of cloud solutions and solution providers increasingly seek to appeal to enterprises and their requirements, there are still barriers to adoption. One of the most difficult barriers remains understanding proposed cloud solutions and implementing them.

It turns out that Managed Service Providers, the sort of companies that years ago may have helped them deploy IT solutions in data centers, might be the right partner in helping facilitate new cloud services across public, private and hybrid clouds.

Building and providing necessary services on top of cloud platforms

Datapipe has been is one of several MSPs helping firms that want to use Amazon Web Services’ public cloud platform, but want to avoid opening themselves up to security and compliance risks. Since 2010, Datapipe has been doing architecture, provisioning, management, alerting and monitoring on the platform.

In May, the company launched Datapipe Cloud Analytics for AWS, which provides customers more information on their cloud infrastructure and a new business-intelligence engine that helps optimize cloud spending.

Datapipe Cloud Analytics for AWS, says Datapipe director of marketing Rich Dolan, “is an expansion of that service capability and offering our clients a toolset to be able to create their own alerts on certain things and give them a toolkit for optimizing their spend.”

This is important for many organizations seeking out hybrid cloud solutions that need to maintain a certain level of performance and price competitiveness. Datapipe Cloud Analytics for AWS also links directly to the company’s our managed service, giving customers push-button access to experts who can help quickly resolve issues as they occur.

Providing solutions in the gap between customers and cloud providers

Rather than provide the same old solutions, Datapipe is branching out into areas that could mean better solutions for clients. Sometimes the best solution includes public cloud, and a trusted MSP can help them deploy solutions in ways that don’t open enterprises up to risks – and this can’t always be easily done by dealing directly with cloud providers.

“One of the big things that we’ve been focused on as a managed service provider is really having a major focus on the emerging technology side,” says Craig Sowell, senior vice president of marketing at Datapipe. “We definitely do traditional managed services for our clients – we have a footprint of data centers – but we also look to managing emerging technologies for our clients as well, and that really led us to being a partner of Amazon and really helping our enterprise clients to adopt Amazon at the next level.”

While Datapipe Cloud Analytics for AWS doesn’t automatically compare performance and price between public and private cloud solutions, the insight gained from AWS data can be used by Datapipe experts to optimize customers’ portfolios to determine where their workloads are best suited based on a variety of factors. This is one of the instances where the human expertise of an experienced MSP helps.

Sowell envisions Datapipe’s role as being a trusted advisor when it comes to cloud adoption in the enterprise. They are able to bridge the skills and expertise gap for many companies where it doesn’t make sense for their staff to become experts on new platforms. Sowell says, “We’ve been able to take a lot of that load off of them, so they can really focus on managing their portfolio of IT.”

Bridging the knowledge gap between specific applications and cloud providers

Some MSPs also specialize in dealing with offering their expertise on specific applications and cloud platforms.

For instance, Tenzing, a company that specializes in ecommerce hosting solutions, recently launched Magento Optimized Hosting on Amazon Web Services (AWS) aimed at retailers.

“Merchants need a capable technology and business partner that delivers expertise at the platform and application level,” says Tenzing CEO Brian Shepard. “With Tenzing’s Magento managed services on AWS, the merchant has a powerful platform that when deployed optimally for performance, security, reliability and availability, will accomplish the goal of revenue maximization while balancing operational costs.”

By building this service on the AWS platform, Tenzing is enabling merchants to gain scalable, high-performance, and cost-effective hosting without having to figure out how to deploy and optimize their Magento ecommerce application. Magento Optimized Hosting on AWS adds disaster recovery options as well.

MSPs: A catalyst for cloud adoption

Unmanaged cloud services are becoming a major area where MSPs can drive new revenue, and nearly every major public cloud hosting provider is welcoming MSPs to help clients use their hosting services more effectively. And MSPs, including Datapipe, offer different price points that make their services more accessible to smaller businesses that might not have considered using an MSP before.

MSPs are clearly a major catalyst in driving cloud adoption. And – if they do their jobs right – they can ensure that the rush to the cloud doesn’t compromise security or performance.

About the Author

David Hamilton is a Toronto-based technology journalist who has written for the National Post and other news outlets. He has covered the hosting industry internationally for the Web Host Industry Review with particular attention to innovative hosting solutions and the issues facing the industry. David is a graduate of Queen’s University and the Humber College School of Media Studies.

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