Looks like it is time to take “self service” out of cloud definition. There is a new trend that is slowly gaining traction which, even though it is not cloud washing, appears to be a desperate repackaging of services by companies with deep roots in the managed hosting world. I still feel that the availability of cloud management tools and the ability to easily start virtual machines from gold images when something goes wrong, makes managed cloud hosting a plain marketing BS. However, there appears to be a decent market for these services in the small and mid market levels. Whether we like it or not, these services are here to stay, at least in the short term.
Recently, I wrote about Datapipe, a managed services provider from the traditional IT world, offering managed cloud services
Datapipe is a well established managed services provider helping enterprises with servers, storage, data center services and co-location. They have more than 1000 clients and they want to use their experience in application management, hosting, security services, etc. in the managed hosting world to offer services in the cloud based world. Well, this is the irony of managed services providers who were successful with traditional forms of IT. When the traditional infrastructure can wear the private cloud gown and dance around in a cloud based world, I guess there should be a way for such managed service providers to transform themselves to the cloud era. That is exactly what Datapipe tries to do with their Datapipe Managed Cloud Offering.
On Tuesday, two more companies, with successful runs in the traditional managed infrastructure business, announced the availability of their Managed Cloud Services. The companies are Rackspace cloud and Opsource. The idea behind their services is to eliminate the need to employ admin(s) to manage the virtual machines running on their clouds. Unlike Datapipe, the services offered by Rackspace and Opsource are for their own cloud customers only.
Rackspace announced a new offering called Managed Cloud Hosting, which is nothing but their public cloud offering wrapped with managed services. They now offer additional backups, management at the OS and application levels, monitoring and technical guidance for their cloud servers. The interesting part about their managed cloud services is that it also has metered pricing. Users only pay for the time they need their services and not a flat monthly fee. However, they do have a $100 per month fee per account irrespective of the number of virtual machines you run.
Opsource’s Managed Services for Cloud is also similar to what Rackspace has announced but it is targeted towards their customers using Opsource public cloud. Unlike Rackspace, who offer a single plan covering both the OS and App layer, Opsource have two different plans. One is more focussed on organizations running a simple website or lightweight web app and the other is for businesses running a more complex web application. Their TechOps plan takes care of server administration, OS support with patch management and monitoring. Their App Ops plan includes, along with Tech Ops, Application Rollout, Change Management, Database Management, Application Monitoring, Performance Management, Optimization and Compliance. Like Rackspace, Opsource’s pricing is also metered pricing.
The rise of Managed Cloud Services is inevitable as the industry transitions from the traditional hosting world to a more cloud based world. Those who see their business model shaken up by cloud computing would try to adopt to the changed circumstances. Whether this makes sense in the long term is something that is open for debate. Even though self service is supposed to be in the DNA of cloud computing, there are many organizations who are completely clueless about what is in store for them in the cloud. These organizations will be more comfortable having a helping hand either from the cloud providers themselves or from third party managed service providers. As long as such needs exist, there is definitely a market for managed cloud services. We just have to wait and see what happens in the long run.
- Rackspace Managed Cloud: Great technology meets great service (building43.com)
- Rackspace Adds Management to Cloud Offering (pcworld.com)
- Rackspace adds management to cloud offering (infoworld.com)
- Rackspace launches managed cloud services (zdnet.com)
- Rackspace Adds Cloud Services (datacenterknowledge.com)