With cloud adoption rising so sharply, a cloud complexity problem has arisen. 451 Research noted in 2019 that 60% of enterprises were using cloud consumption models, yet around two-thirds of applications still remain on-premises due to a variety of reasons. They include system interdependencies, cost, security, data gravity, compliance, and the presence of monolithic legacy applications that are too challenging to migrate to the cloud. With IT spread thinly between the cloud and on-prem, infrastructure and networks are becoming mired in complexity.
Companies are typically using a great many cloud services from multiple providers. Salesforce, online backup SaaS services, Microsoft 365, and many others are in heavy use in the enterprise. Similarly, organizations are often failing to remain wholly on one major cloud platform such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, Google Cloud, or Wasabi. And various parts of the organization are ordering cloud services, making management and cost containment difficult. As a result, multi-cloud complexity has become a real issue.
Enter MSPs with management and cost containment solutions that aim to simplify things. They remove the time and labor burden of dealing with multi-cloud environments — essentially acting as middlemen between user organizations and suppliers, bridging the gap between functionality and the underlying multi-cloud infrastructure labyrinth.
2bcloud, for example, offers multi-cloud managed services to tech companies to assist them on their cloud journey.
“Running a large cloud-based operation requires a well-provisioned cloud platform capable of managing the load and delivering peak performance,” said Itay Blogorodsky, 2bcloud General Manager, North America. “Many have over-simplified their cloud journey and are not fully equipped to take on the challenge. The value that an MSP can bring to the table is expertise in these areas, including cloud readiness assessments of the client capabilities.”
2bcloud is part of an emerging breed of born-to-the cloud, next gen MSP. It specializes in fast-growing cloud-native startups, leveraging its multi-cloud expertise working with AWS and Azure. 2bcloud is Gold Partner and Azure Expert MSP with Microsoft and Advanced Consulting Partner with AWS. This depth of knowhow is used to help customers grow revenue, increase efficiency, reduce cost, and deliver scalable experiences. As well as managed services, it offers cost optimization, expert consultancy, and 24/7 technical support.
Customers typically are bogged down in one of more of the following areas:
- Multi-Cloud Visibility: One major challenge with scalability in a multi-cloud environment is visibility across different clouds. Organizations need visibility into multiple clouds so they can understand how each one works and how they interact with each other. Without this kind of visibility, managing resource utilization could become challenging.
- Security and Compliance: Another issue with scalability in a multi-cloud environment is security and compliance regulations that must be adhered to when transitioning between service providers or storing data offsite from your own infrastructure.
- Data Integration and Migration: Moving data between systems can often create issues when using more than one provider because there may not always be compatible APIs available for every provider’s platform.
Cloud computing has long been considered as a cost savings over on-prem. However, despite its many advantages, cloud costs can still be a major issue for businesses that are not properly optimizing their use of the technology. Cloud optimization is essential for any business looking to maximize the potential of cloud computing while minimizing associated costs.
“One of the biggest issues is balancing variable pricing models with business needs,” said Blogorodsky. “This includes reserved and spot instances, auto-scaling, active/active disaster recovery, and serverless models. These approaches provide high availability, but at the tradeoff of unpredictable burst pricing increases.”
Another challenge is lack of visibility into resource utilization across multi-cloud footprints. Without proper knowledge regarding how resources are being deployed and consumed across clouds, organizations cannot easily identify areas where they could optimize performance and cost.
“Tenacity is needed to regularly perform cost optimization as newer services and optimally-sized resources become available,” said Blogorodsky. “Controlling costs while simultaneously increasing capacity becomes increasingly difficult due to ever changing pricing models offered by many providers. The best strategies to tackle these issues are automated usage monitoring and utilizing cost optimization tools.”
Trends Impacting MSPs
Blogorodsky noted that as technology continues to evolve, MSPs are required to keep up with the latest trends in order to remain competitive and provide customers with the best services. He outlined key trends such as:
- Automation: Automation is becoming increasingly important within many industries, and MSPs have been quick to adopt automated solutions for managing customer workloads more efficiently. By automating certain processes such as patching, backups, and monitoring network performance, MSPs can save time and resources while ensuring an optimal customer experience. Additionally, automation also helps free up staff members from mundane tasks so they can focus on more complex issues or revenue-generating activities instead.
- SaaS Services: There has been a surge in demand for MSP offerings of cloud SaaS offerings. As such, an MSP can offer their customers an enhanced service layer built on top of the cloud and grow their business in the meantime.
- Security Solutions: Cybersecurity threats continue to become more sophisticated by the day, making security solutions even more critical. Having advanced cybersecurity offerings in place — endpoint protection, encryption technologies, vulnerability scanning tools, and managed firewalls — is crucial for any reputable MSP.
- Digital Transformation: The growth of new digital applications has changed how businesses operate significantly over recent years, creating an increased need for MSPs to guide their clients in their digital transformation journey.
In addition, Blogorodsky has observed cloud providers such as AWS and Azure incorporating more machine learning and AI into their services. This will potentially make the services easier for non-technical teams to set up and deploy. Further, low-code or no-code platforms for application development are becoming more prevalent.
Retail Customer Example
stor.ai, a retail market ecommerce solutions provider, utilizes 2bcloud’s multi-cloud services and expertise on the AWS platform. This deployment supported its white label retail platform, which enables clients to connect to inventory, position their brands to develop customer loyalty, and boost average order value.
“2bcloud’s specialist helped us identify AWS as the right cloud platform,” said Gilad Globen, CTO & Vice President of Research and Development, stor.ai.
It began with a proof of concept based on AWS. The proof of concept proved successful and stor.ai decided to add AWS to their cloud environment. Globen reported results such as:
- Rapid Deployment: 2bcloud deployed AWS services using a well-structured and managed project plan, and stor.ai now runs a multi-cloud environment.
- Greater Capabilities: Adding AWS to stor.ai’s cloud environment offers greater scalability, flexibility, and resilience, enhancing stor.ai’s cloud capacity.
- Improved Performance: AWS offers stor.ai greater speed and smoother performance, a benefit that’s directly passed on to its clients. In addition, further cloud optimization positions stor.ai to benefit from long-term cost savings.
- Dedicated Support: stor.ai has 24/7 access to 2bcloud’s team of cloud specialists to address any technical issues across their cloud environment.
In summary, MSPs are emerging that offer management and cost containment solutions aiming to bring an end to cloud complexity and overspend. Why wrestle with the problems inherent in multi-cloud environments when you can use an MSP to take care of the details?