I spend a lot of my time, mentoring and enabling services providers to leverage products and develop ‘as a Service’ offerings. I have found that most service providers do not understand all the products available from VMware and how they can be implemented to produce new revenue streams.
VMware’s vCloud Air Network is a program that allows service providers to consume VMware software and is measured based on consumption. This consumption model is the perfect model for service providers as it allows for steady growth based on demand.
This blog post hopes to highlight some of the unknown products, and promote some idea’s as to how these products can help you develop service offerings for your customers.
vCenter/vSphere (Platform Only – IaaS) – The core infrastructure provides a solid base for offering hosting and supporting an MSP based cloud offering. This type of cloud is common with Solutions Providers and Managed Service Providers who have added a ‘cloud’ platform to support core revenue streams. The platform only scenario is rarely exposed to the consumer and is protected behind firewalls and internal networks, only customer networks are exposed into the customer base.
vCloud Director (Self Service and Security – IaaS) – vCloud Director has started to re-enter the market, although VMware have announced they are phasing this product out for perpetual customers, it is under continued development for members of the vCloud Air Network. vCloud Director provides a self service portal, and allows for some structure behind how offerings can be sold. It moves the sales model from a per vm sales, into a resource consumption model. It introduces PAYG, Allocation and Reservation models for consumption. vCloud Director also provides API interaction into the cloud, allowing customers to interact with cloud services using third party products.
vRealize Orchestrator (Orchestration and Automation) – Still one of the most unknown or unused products within the VMware portfolio, this product comes bundled with vCenter. Orchestrator allows you to develop workflows and poll/monitor environmental changes to allow automated workflows. Major vendors provide plugins into the Orchestrator product that allow you to manage and orchestrate all your core services from storage, network, and operating systems, authentication. It can interact with all parts of your infrastructure and can be driven by a GUI, WebViews or API. Integrating this with vCloud Director can further extend your service offering and allow the introduction of other services, e.g Storage as a Service (via API), Database as a Service (vFabric Data Director integration) and additional core services like networking, and identity management.
vFabric Data Director (Database as a Service) – vFabric Data Director introduces a platform that allows self service and management of database products. Database software can be very cumbersome for service providers and is also expensive. Having a product that can track a portion of usage or simplify deployment and management is great. This is starting to develop interest within the marketplace and deserves a lot more attention in my opinion.
vRealize LogInsight (Logging platform – Logging as a Service) – vRealize LogInsight is getting more marketshare and is a great product within a VMware platform. It’s tight integration and understanding of the VMware product stack are fantastic. With more and more customers moving to the cloud, LogInsight can be productized in a few ways. Two common scenario’s I discussed regularly are, Logging as a Service – allowing customers to utilise a log platform in the cloud on a consumption based model and also Logging for Compliance. As customers move infrastructure to the cloud logging is often forgotten and can provide valuable information back to the business in regards to what is happening and any security breaches or issues being experienced.
vRealize Configuration Manager (vRealize Operations Suite) – Configuration Manager is apart of a suite of products. The configuration manager product is great to provide alignment with standards (PCI, HIPA etc). It also provides tracking and auditing of the core platform. This ensures that your platform is configured with best practices and can be accurately tracked and rolled back as changes are implemented. This tool whilst not allowed productization by itself allows you to extend on your IaaS offering. Allowing you to differentiate and/or provide reports to the customer that what they have procured is secure and audit-able can be very powerful and sometimes invaluable.
VMware Workspace Portal (Applications as a Service)- I have seen very little consumption of this product but am a strong believer that it can be a great offering within the service provider market. I have two visions for this product; One is to provide and manage federated identity services into cloud based offerings. Two is to provide Application as a Service. This is a conversation that is becoming more common and is moving away from the customer needing a desktop to operate and more towards the customer needing an outcome or an application to perform their work. Providing an Application of a Service platform can easily reduce costs, improve time to market and also allow a lot more mobility and support of a BYOD program for customers.
I am hoping to drive a lot more interest and acceptance of some of the above products into the market and help service providers mature passed hosting and into cloud services with some great ‘as a Service’ offerings that allows growth.