3 Underlying Considerations for MSPs When Selecting a Cloud Provider

By: Josh Rhine

January 16, 2018

If you’re a MSP, you’ve probably heard the same cloud sales and marketing points ad nauseam. A service provider offering good service level agreements can give MSPs an edge. Look past initial service fees and consider total cost ownership. Don’t neglect service resiliency and availability. These are all valuable and important bits of advice, but you probably understand these issues by now.

There are, however, a few underlying cloud issues that don’t necessarily get much attention, but are still extremely important to keep in mind – especially for MSPs.

To understand these issues, it is vital to first look at how the data center world is changing.

The Data Center World Is Shifting

When you imagine the typical work day for a data center manager, you probably think of a person walking through aisles of servers, checking on them to make sure the configuration is working properly and ensuring staff can stay ahead of any potential disasters.  A recent Data Center Knowledge report painted a different image – a person sitting behind a desk in an empty room looking at a computer screen. Colm Keegan, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said we may not be far from this vision being a reality.

“That vision of a manager in an empty data center could eventually apply to some businesses,” Keegan told the news source. “In those cases, the data center manager’s job would be the overseer of external providers to ensure the enterprise received the performance and capabilities it required.”

MSPs need to support their customers by becoming excellent service brokers and support personnel. A Talkin’ cloud report explained that MSPs hoping to find success in this complex cloud world must focus on cloud optimization and service management strategies that maximize client cost savings and create revenue opportunities.

Gaining this type of edge depends on thinking about some of the more subtle cloud issues when choosing a service provider. With this in mind, here are three under-the-surface cloud issues MSPs must assess before partnering with a cloud provider:

1. Infrastructure Management

If we’re entering an era where the typical enterprise data center manager is becoming a service broker, businesses will become increasingly dependent on the data center experts in those facilities that keep the backend infrastructure running. The problem – cloud environments are incredibly involved, feature complex systems and are often spread over multiple locations.

MSPs that want to provide excellent solutions and services to their customers need to make sure the cloud provider they work with has highly skilled engineers to manage their environment. Referrals, an in-person visit and similar background research can help you get a feel for what a cloud provider can handle in terms of engineering and support.

2. Network Pricing Models

Paying for bandwidth often slips under the radar. You can’t always predict bandwidth usage and you can’t control aspects of it. So you often end up just dealing with how much it costs to keep the network up to what your users need. Then, a usage spike hits and you’re stuck paying through the roof for a one-time bandwidth increase beyond your core service plan.

Understanding precisely how you are billed for bandwidth and finding a vendor that offers flexible, efficient pricing models can help you gain an edge in keeping your costs down.

3. Engineering & Consulting Services

Today’s hybrid and multi-cloud environments are so complex that making the right decisions for each business can get overwhelming. Cloud providers that will consult with you and help you fit the cloud with your customers can go a long way in getting positive results for everybody involved.

MSPs are often put in a difficult position when procuring cloud solutions for their clients, but the right solution provider can help them gain an edge. The key is to look beneath the surface to get a more in-depth idea of cloud service models.

Lume started out as a MSP so we know what it takes to be successful.  Our MSP partners can leverage our managed solutions, engineering expertise, and network of global data centers to deliver powerful and cost-efficient cloud solutions for their clients and avoid the many pitfalls that come with working with other providers.

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