Blog April 17, 2019

How MSPs Leverage a Multi-Cloud Strategy

Let’s face it, there’s a virtual ton of Managed Device Providers (MSPs) around today. In order to stand out and attract new quality clients, MSPs not only have to offer quality experts and support on staff, they have to offer top-of-the-line services and attempt to meet a prospective client’s every need.

However, the investment of both time and money that’s required in order to achieve versatility, especially when it comes to cloud platform options, can seem like an overwhelming obstacle at first glance. Is it really worth it to offer a multi-cloud strategy and if so, how can MSPs leverage the opportunity to their best advantage?

The answers may surprise you.

The Top Tier

Cloud services are part of a rapidly growing market. Modern tech such as: artificial intelligence, IoT, big data analytics, and web/mobile app hosting all require extensive computing power. Turning to cloud computing offers organizations in these sectors scalable computing power on a plug and play basis as well as a viable alternative to designing an in-house infrastructure. As a result, the cloud has become a very popular solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Today, there are multiple well-known companies that offer cloud platform solutions for application development, deployment and management. That said, there are a select few that are definitely leaders in the cloud industry.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) — The undisputed leader of leaders, AWS holds a 35% market share and provides on-demand cloud computing platforms via their full-fledged virtual cluster of computers.

Microsoft Azure — Primarily utilizing Microsoft’s managed data centers, Azure supports PHP, ASP.net, and Node.js and of course application development, deployment, and management.

Google Cloud Platform — A highly dynamic cloud solution that supports both SQL (Cloud SQL) and NoSQL (Cloud Datastore) database storage. GCP offers services that include networking, storage, compute, machine learning (ML) and more, as well as including tools for cloud development, security, and management.

IBM Bluemix — Providing both PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) solutions, IBM users can deploy and access virtualized compute power, storage and networking, as well as create, manage and deploy scalable applications for both public cloud and on-premises environments.

Of course each provider above has their core-following, users that have been with them for awhile or just simply swear by their products and services, but new users join each one almost daily. However, there are numerous organizations that are aware that they need help, sometimes in a huge way, but aren’t quite sure which solution best fits their needs.

The Multi-Cloud Solution

A multi-cloud solution is, quite literally, the utilization of more than one cloud provider. By blending best in class technologies together, customer and users can reap rich benefits. There are multiple benefits for adopting a multi-cloud strategy including cost savings, avoiding vendor lock-in, performance optimization, lowered risk of DDoS attacks and improved reliability. If AWS goes down, for example, a multi-cloud strategy that includes Azure means that sites and applications may well continue to work during Amazon’s service interruption.

For some organizations, one of the most attractive benefits to a multi-cloud strategy is the ability to avoid vendor lock-in. As opposed to the cloud provider holding all of the leverage, opting for a multi-cloud strategy moves that leverage to the user’s side of the equation. Workloads can be transferred between cloud service providers and development teams can design and build apps that work across platforms. Additionally, when one provider’s pricing or capabilities are more appealing or in-line with company needs, it’s much easier to transfer between them.

Every cloud service provider has their strengths and weaknesses and these days it’s not uncommon at all for companies to leverage multiple providers in order to complete a single customer transaction. As a result, when a MSP offers a multi-cloud architecture, it gives their customers the ability to seamlessly shift their transactions as needed and utilize the services that work best for their current needs.

As a result, MSPs that offer this highly desired strategy are likely to increase retention as well as entice new customers with advanced multi-cloud capabilities. As a  customer’s needs expand or change, MSPs with an expanded offering can quickly provide the necessary services and prevent their customers from taking that business elsewhere. In other words, being able to manage and maintain multiple clouds is a great way to increase share of wallet and increase customer/client retention.

If MSPs are to compete and remain relevant today, versatility is paramount. It’s no longer viable to simply offer a single or limited service line, such as: remotely managing the client’s systems and IT assets, providing new software and hardware, staff resources, single cloud services, infrastructure management and monitoring, and taking responsibility for all updates, repairs, and patches that the client requires.

MSPs should understand that the more versatile their service offerings are, the wider the net they can cast for new customers. Attracting clients that are loyal to Microsoft or are completely integrated into AWS is just one portion of the equation. Having the ability to offer expert services no matter which platform or how many of them are needed, completely eliminates barriers that could otherwise cost the MSP additional revenue, and possibly the entire contract overall.

The Multi-Cloud Process

Many MSPs are likely hesitant to undergo the certification across platforms simply due to the significant investment required. While the overall monetary requirements are merely a drop in the bucket, those that are completely new to AWS can expect to spend approximately 120 hours of study time and take a half dozen or so exams, while Azure newbies will face close to thirty different courses with ten or so exams.

For both Azure and AWS, each exam requires a passing grade before qualifying to move to the next level/exam. This of course results in a large portion of students actually spending even more time becoming certified as they retake courses and exams that they did not pass on first attempt.

Hundreds of hours, months of study, and numerous courses and exams.

At least nine to twelve months of intense study in order to offer the complete range of the most popular cloud platforms. And of course that’s just for one individual. To completely staff up for this venture, MSPs are looking at thousands of hours of training time.

For innovative MSPs however, there’s another answer.

Partnering with an industry leader like Connectria that possesses deep expertise in cloud management and maintenance opens the doors to a whole new world. Connectria enables MSPs to provide their customers with the entire range of cloud providers, without having to provide the training time and money generally required.

Connectria’s TRiA Multi-Cloud Management Platform is the only tool that allows MSPs to manage AWS, Azure, GCP, IBM i, AIX, VMware, Linux and Windows workloads, with visibility across all of their clouds. TRiA includes advanced cost-optimization to minimize waste and eliminate unnecessary costs.

Additionally, this partnership provides continuous security compliance within a wide range of  requirements including HIPAA, PCI, GDPR, NIST and ISO 27001 among others.

Providing clients with complete access to a multi-cloud strategy is how leading MSPs are winning the battle and standing a head taller than the crowd. Smart MSPs are able to increase customer retention, expand their offerings and immediately become more versatile while enabling themselves to meet all client cloud requirements.

If you’d like more information on how partnering with Connectria can propel your MSP to a whole new level by adding a multi-cloud strategy to your portfolio, contact us today. Stand out among the crowd by providing current clients and potential customers with all of the cloud solutions they desire and require without the expense and time investment normally required for cross-platform certifications.

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