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The MSP and the Multi-Cloud: Defining a New Route to Revenue for Your Backup Business

Oct 21, 2019, 15:16 PM by Alex Simons

KIS MSP Multi-Cloud

Hybrid IT is re-shaping the data protection landscape with multiple cloud (multi-cloud) strategies emerging as a popular deployment strategy for managed service providers (MSPs).

According to a 2019 survey from Smarter with Gartner, over 81% of public cloud users are leveraging two or more cloud providers for their Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) networks [1]. These elevated usage patterns for multi-cloud environments are directly correlated with the variation and specialization of Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) within the software-defined storage and cloud service marketplace.

Managed cloud backup and disaster recovery solutions are a key driver to this multi-cloud shift. Many MSPs are extending their Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) solutions through a secondary CSP environment purpose-built for cloud backup and disaster recovery. This approach enables the MSP to reduce complexity and simplify the provisioning process through existing cloud infrastructure specializing in cloud backup and disaster recovery operations.

The multi-cloud architecture also empowers greater customization due to a variety of cloud networks to choose from. This allows the MSP to optimize their multi-tenant cloud workloads by efficiently allocating cloud resources pre-defined by the availability requirements of each end-user applications.

Let’s take a look at what’s driving multi-cloud adoption within the MSP marketplace along with several benefits of partnering with a custom cloud service provider specializing in cloud backup and disaster recovery.


Sorry Thomas Jefferson: But Not All Clouds Are Created Equal!

Piggly Wiggly is credited as the first self-service grocery store – opening in 1916.

I love Piggly Wiggly. This is my favorite grocery store on the planet.

But the product selection is restricted for a healthier consumer demographic like my fiancé.

She prefers Trader Joe’s. Piggly Wiggly does not supply a wide range of organic produce, Pink Lady Apple Kombucha, or Two Buck Chuck (now $3.79 - BOO!) .

So why would we source our groceries from the same provider?

The same principle applies to multi-cloud architecture within the MSP marketplace. Digital transformation, exponential data growth, and hybrid shifts are continuing to re-define end user data processing. The multi-cloud model is designed to alleviate these complexities by deploying the appropriate cloud to service each IT workflow. This subsequently reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) for data protection solutions due to the efficient allocation of cloud resources pre-defined by business priority.

For example, not every end-user system or application will require a near-zero recovery time objective (RTO). So why would you provision a comprehensive Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solution with full-site failover capabilities to instantaneously restore Alex the Intern’s 2014 summer project?

You wouldn’t.

The multi-cloud deployment model is designed to alleviate this challenge through enhanced customization to better align data protection safeguards with end-user requirements.


One Cloud? Two Cloud? Hyperscale Public Cloud? Blue Cloud?

Hundreds of thousands of MSPs are utilizing hyperscale public cloud providers to navigate their journey to the cloud. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is leading this charge with over 100,000 re-sellers and over 35% of the global IaaS market share [2].

It seems like Amazon is trying to take over the world by offering every service known to mankind. And in many cases – their diverse portfolio of IT services are well-suited to support the business functions of your end-users. But that does not mean an “out-of-the-box” Simple Storage Service (S3) repository is immediately optimized for cloud backup and disaster recovery operations – especially for complex hybrid landscapes.

The perceived low up-front storage costs are also negated by a wide variety of hidden charges designed to achieve vendor lock-in:


  • Network Egress: It’s free to move your data onto a hyperscale public cloud environment. This is called network ingress. But should you ever need to access your storage repositories (a regular component to redundant backup solutions) you have to pay network egress fees. In other words, why would you pay to access your data?
  • Compounding Storage Requirements: Data volume is growing at an exponential pace. The hyperscale public cloud business model is designed to monetize off of storage. So the compression and deduplication ratios are notoriously fickle. This means as your data volume inevitably increases – so does your bill!
  • Long Term Retention: The most common policy to archive regulated datasets is the Grandfather-Father-Son (GFS) strategy. Chilled storage for long term retention is an excellent use case for a hyperscale public cloud environment. But without the proper provisioning for a GFS policy – the constant migration of software-defined storage will quickly consume your cloud resources.
  • Provisioning: Cloud provisioning is the allocation of resources within the service. Developing a comprehensive cloud backup or disaster recovery solution is complicated. These complexities often lead to an under or over-provisioned solution due to a miscalculation of end-user requirements within multi-tenant MSP workloads.
  • Technical Support: “Alexa – call another robot at Amazon”. Hyperscale public cloud providers are reluctant to customize service level agreements for MSPs in an effort to exonerate liability in the event of downtime. These outages also occur on a semi-regular basis – Downdetector even has a dedicated interactive map to track AWS outages.

So if that cheap storage proposal seems way too good to be true – it’s because it is!

A wide range of managed service capabilities does not equate to a properly configured cloud environment that supports the exact requirements of your end-users.


One Cloud Does Not Fit All: Partnering with Purpose-Built CSPs

Implementing best-fit technology is the primary objective to any backup solution within the multi-cloud. Many MSPs are partnering with custom cloud service providers with an existing network of backup facilities to achieve this objective. This enables the MSP to extend enterprise-caliber backup solutions pre-configured with a wide portfolio of Independent Software Providers (ISVs). This lowers the barriers to entry to start selling immediately while simultaneously simplifying the solution architecture through automated workflows and flexible cloud scalability. 

Just like the cloud hosts – different ISVs will also specialize in different capabilities. Veeam Software, for example, empowers intelligent data management with the ability to manage multi-tenant storage repositories across cloud, virtual, and physical workloads. So a CSP partnership strategy with a Platinum Veeam Cloud Service Provider will extend the unmatched ability to architect the highest-accredited Veeam Availability Solutions for your end users.

Key benefits of a custom cloud backup partnership within your multi-cloud strategy include:

 

  • Optimized Workloads: Delivering end-user business continuity is far more complex within a hybrid IT landscape. Custom cloud providers will expand your choice of software platforms and present a broader ecosystem of industry-leading ISVs within the cloud infrastructure. This extends the capabilities required to support each of your end-users throughout the cloud migration process.
  • Flexible Goals: Different applications have different requirements. More clouds means more options. For example, if you host an eCommerce application in the cloud, then performance and availability of that application is extremely important. If you’re datasets are processing regulated workloads, the data governance and eDiscovery capabilities should take top priority.
  • Data Portability: No MSP wants to deal with a data silo and a singular cloud isn’t strong enough to support every IT function of every end-user. The multi-cloud model facilitates workload portability and interoperability by segmenting datasets into smaller easier-to-manage cloud workloads residing in the best-fit hosting platform.
  • Avoid Vendor Lock-In: Nobody blames cloud vendors for trying to hang onto their customers. But what MSPs resent is being locked into a single cloud provider due the difficulty to migrate the data or change platforms. Many CSPs will offer a choice of software platforms and easy data seeding to efficiently migrate larger multi-tenant MSP workloads.

Is KeepItSafe Right for Your Multi-Cloud Strategy?

Multi-cloud opportunities are constantly evolving for MSPs and their end-users.

If you'd like to learn more about adding a purpose-built environment for cloud backup and disaster recovery into your multi-cloud strategy, we invite you to download How a Multi-Cloud Strategy Optimizes Cloud Workloads or schedule a solution consultation with a KeepItSafe channel adviser today.






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