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What’s in your cloud? A holistic management for service providers


Guest post by Alain Decartes, Strategic Software Initiatives Lead, Cloud and Service Providers, HP Software Marketing


purple cloud.pngI have been involved with cloud services for HP since 2009, and I always consider the perspective of Service Providers (SPs):  how can they generate more revenue, retain their enterprise customers, and reduce their risk while creating new cloud services? In 2009, it was becoming clear that IT service providers had a role to play in the CIO cloud journey by helping them to reduce cost, mitigate risks, and give them access to experts that will help to “improve focus on core business” services. Initially, SPs followed the example of Amazon by offering Compute or Storage as a Service in a market that quickly became a battle of commodity services.


What has changed in five years?


Cloud computing has dramatically altered the relationship between IT and the business side of a company by setting a new standard in service provisioning and consumption of applications. In today’s world, business users expect applications and services to be:

  • Instantly available
  • Easy to use
  • Mobile
  • Should be able to give them a clear competitive advantage

Cloud has become a part of every business process. It is the responsibility of  CIOs to lead the evolution of the IT organization toward a hybrid infrastructure that includes select innovative cloud services.  


As a service provider, you face some key challenges in a hypercompetitive environment.  You need to demonstrate innovative ways to deliver and differentiate cloud services that can penetrate new markets quickly, while maintaining healthy margins.  You have to reassess your portfolio to identify which services are core to your overall cloud offering strategy.


From IT service provider to cloud service broker?


To achieve the highest level of success, you need to develop a cloud services strategy that supports your corporate strategy. As an IT Service Provider, you should explore the priority market segments with upside revenue potential and include a solid foundation to launch and support such services.  One of the most interesting roles for you is to become a cloud services broker (CSB), which generates new revenues by offering services in a previously uncovered area, such as managed security services, mobile apps lifecycle, big data, service manager as a service, testing as a service, or enterprise back-up services. Combining legacy offerings, on premise solutions, third-party SaaS applications and core competencies from your professional service organization, these offerings represent a huge opportunity for SPs around the world.


Managing a virtual environment


Virtualized environments and cloud computing will soon be the norm in the service provider’s space. One of the major benefits associated with virtualization is the flexible approach to workload management and service availability. However, this flexibility comes at a price, effectively adding a layer of abstraction that increases the complexity of dynamically managing the delivery of services. As many SPs have already recognized, there will be opportunities to sell cloud services as a logical development of the established business to current enterprise customers that use business data services.


An often overlooked aspect of managing virtual environments is the need for management tools to operate at a more granular level than their physical environment counterparts. Adoption of cloud services will be highly dependent on the orchestration of the self-provisioning, automation, security, configuration management, and end-to-end service assurance. SPs will not be able to parcel out specific functions on the back end of self-service portals because the demand for cloud services will be super-elastic. Changes in service demand will occur daily, and the risk of human errors in the provisioning and activation processes used in most operational centers can create  high failure rates.


If you are responsible for the management of a cloud service, you will require multi-domain management of infrastructure, network, and application operations. This more granular approach is further complicated by the need to holistically manage the application, server, network, client, user, and storage elements. It needs to be:


cloud management.pngComprehensive:  HP provides a complete solution including automation, monitoring infrastructure, security and service management.  HP is one of the few vendors that offers such a broad range of management tools.

Unified: You can use HP’s tools for managing both cloud environments and traditional environments. By leveraging our broad portfolio of management tools for traditional IT environments in our cloud management solution, HP is able to provide a single tool set that you can use to manage both your cloud and IT environments. We have learned that you don’t want separate management environments for your virtual and physical infrastructures. Similarly, you don’t want different management solutions for your cloud and traditional IT environments.

Open, extensible architecture:  HP’s solution can integrate with your existing tools. And if you need additional tools, you will likely be able to integrate them into your HP solution because of our open, extensible architecture.  HP Cloud Service Automation, our leading cloud management solution, works with OpenStack technologies.


To learn more about how solutions and services from HP Software can help you to  monetize cloud services applications I encourage you to download the new HP business e-book,  Monetize Your Cloud Services – Operate them efficiently .


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