If You’re an MSP, You Can’t Afford to Treat All Clouds Equally

By: Josh Rhine

November 14, 2017

Don’t make a bad business decision just because a provider advertises with hourly billing. MSPs deserve better.


The technology world has entered a phase where a lot of services look extremely similar once you get past the branding. The cloud industry isn’t immune.  While Gartner found that the global cloud market is poised for 18 percent growth in 2017, the sector has reached a point where differentiators between vendors are becoming more difficult to discern.

MSPmentor reported that managed services providers need to look beyond surface-level distinctions between cloud vendors as solution models blur.

Most cloud providers can offer a common suite of services, including:

  • Compute, network and storage resources
  • Load balancing
  • Database services
  • Scalability to add compute, network or storage systems
  • Support for emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things

With baseline services so common across the cloud market, MSPs need to look at more nuanced issues, such as data center locations, managed services, private cloud availability, and hybrid cloud integration, to figure out which cloud vendors are right for them.

As a decision-maker for an MSP, where does this situation leave you? Some clouds look the same at first glance, and seeing beyond the marketing and sales hype to figure out what will work for you can be a hit-or-miss proposition. So what do you need to look for in a cloud provider? The key is to go beneath the surface a bit and get into the nuts and bolts of how the service provider actually manages its infrastructure and operations. From there, look at what your customers need and what your specific pain points are, and figure out if what the cloud vendor specializes in to see if the cloud provider is a match.

A few things MSPs should focus on when looking at cloud providers include:

Location

As MSPmentor mentioned, location is a critical consideration for cloud providers. The major players are rolling data centers out across a variety of geographical locations, but you can’t necessarily control which facilities will contain your data and applications and when. If you’re experiencing latency, you may be stuck. This is a particular problem for performance-sensitive applications or data.

If you have a customer that wants to move a mission-critical app into the cloud, you’ll need to ensure the provider has a data center that is not only well located geographically in relation to the target audience, but that it also has proper network connectivity available to minimize latency as data is routed between locations.

Backend Management

Chances are you already spend lots of time serving as an intermediary between your customers and the cloud providers you depend on. If an app goes down, you have to call the vendor’s service desk. If any infrastructure or configuration changes need to be made, your team is stuck doing the dirty work. The more efficient you can be handling these requests, the easier it is to monetize your partnerships.

Cloud providers that offer managed services and solutions can simplify this relationship by doing the administrative and system management work for you. This lets you focus more on customer interactions and relationship building when problems arise.

Engineering Expertise

This one can be tough to evaluate, but if you can obtain references and customer testimonials (and your own ‘Spidey senses’) , you can probably get a fairly clear idea of what a cloud provider’s skills actually look like. Managing cloud infrastructure is a huge operational burden that can have staggering complexities. Cloud providers staffed by engineers with the various skills and areas of expertise, gives you an edge that can make a difference when it comes time to demonstrate reliability, resiliency, and, performance to your customers.

At Lume, we understand the importance of good partnerships.  This is especially true with MSPs, as that is where are roots are and where we began. To that end, we use our engineering expertise and enterprise-grade infrastructure to architect, deploy, manage, and support powerful and cost-efficient cloud solutions that are optimized for any workload.

For MSPs that partner with us, or white label our solutions, this gives you more confidence and resources (not to mention revenue opportunities) that will help you provide better service to your customers and grow your business.

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