Managing the cloud: Integrating cloud services

Dave Sobel

Cloud adoption numbers continue to look strong. Worldwide, the opportunity for cloud systems is multi-billions of dollars. Adding in mobility makes the market even larger, moving well beyond one trillion dollars. Implementation services and ongoing management services both provide opportunities for MSPs to offer high value services to their customers.

Cloud-ManagementCloud management has been something of an elusive concept. It’s easy to talk about managing the cloud, but what do we really mean by that? By it’s very nature, any cloud system would be required to have a management console of some kind, since exposing a way to administer a system seems like a necessary component. Research into cloud usage indicates that MSPs will be dealing with more and more providers as systems are moving to the cloud. The move to the cloud means more relationships – and thus more management panels – than before. Thus, the addition of more consoles creates more administration overhead.

While seemingly simple, it’s not the entire story. Some systems, like Office 365, make management exposed via API or scripting (such as PowerShell), and thus do not expose all the capabilities via their web management. The management console is one of multiple ways to manage these systems, adding more to the management complexity.

Cloud systems alone are still not the entire solution. Without devices, cloud systems offer significantly lower value, and MSPs are best served by being able to combine their on-premise asset management with cloud management, providing an end to end view of the entire integrated system. This also allows the ability to provide reporting and status to end customers on both.

MSPs are thus looking for their single pane of glass – their RMM – to extend their capabilities by integrating cloud services within the management platform. Combining cloud services and on-premise services into a single dashboard will increase efficiency and give a holistic view of the entire system. Reports are important for MSPs to show their ongoing value. MSPs are looking for a specific list of abilities:

  1. To manage multiple cloud systems from a single console
  2. To manage those cloud systems alongside their on premise assets
  3. To manage both via API and management console from within the same, single console
  4. To deliver reports showing the entire asset information for both cloud and on-premise

By combining cloud systems and on premise ones into a complete end to end solution, and driving efficiency, and ultimately a stronger solution. Bringing disparate solutions together, with a focus on ongoing management, differentiates an MSP from other competition, and shows the value of engaging with a solution provider rather than trying to assemble the solution themselves. This is the goal – managing these systems on behalf of the customer to drive value.

As always all thoughts and comments are welcome! What are you looking for when managing the cloud? Share your thoughts below!