Some moves that I think you should have in mind if you want a strong portfolio of Cloud Managed Services for the Enterprise segment. A market that is growing almost exponentially every year, then it’s worth the shot.
Here you have a summary of the options you should consider to boost your portfolio – and enough to decide if you want to stay on this reading:
- Databases: One of my most savviest friend told me: “data has gravity”. As soon as you move a database to the public cloud, many other apps that depend on it, will follow. This is trend you should embrace and I’ll tell you how and why later.
- VMWare in AWS: A great move from AWS. VMWare has been the preferred virtualization ever. However, many organization want to stop dealing with hardware and its life cycle. Good opportunity to take that dirt off your ESX certificates and start supporting that transition.
- SAP HANA: SAP is the most used ERP, probably worldwide. Now SAP customers must decide for HANA as a DB if they want to take full advantage of their data and real-time analytics. Also, it’s uncertain if SAP will stay supporting other DB vendors after 2025. it’s the perfect time to evolve those BASIS services and innovate thru the many options brought by public cloud. More later.
- CI/CD: PaaS has got an important boost thanks to containers and Kubernetes. DevOps practices adoption are hard to get though. What are you waiting to help your customers? Also, a good opportunity to resell software tools subscriptions to support this code-to-production pipe.
Next, I will bring more details on every bullet, don’t tear away from me yet.
Data has gravity
Migrate databases to the cloud is a very sensitive topic to any company. It’s complex, risky and resource consuming.
Then so is a huge opportunity for any provider to sell high-rated and a massive offer of managed services.
It’s matter of time that any DB will be moved to the public cloud anyway. Its hard to hide from the top-management, the huge cost benefits that change can bring – like market analyst aren’t rubbing it in our face all the time.
Then now it’s the time to size the opportunity and bring those experts.
As soon as a database is properly assessed, discussions will transition to identify what applications will have to be moved with it. This is why we says: “data has gravity”
Figure source: https://db-engines.com/en/ranking_trend
Databases like mysql and PostgreSQL can be moved to almost any public cloud right away. They are most typically use on web apps and you can find tons of tools and tutorials online.
Legacy DBs: The classic dilemma
More legacy stuff like MS SQL and Oracle is also available to have it on as-a-service mode. However, pricing is more convenient on their original vendor. You can opt for important savings or even no additional costs on cloud services using your current enterprise agreements or licenses.
On the other hand, you have vendors like GCP with Google SQL and AWS that brings Aurora, a very convenient relational database services. There are programs with important savings in credits on your migration project to encourage customers to migrate from Oracle/SQL. Of course, decisions like this depends on the complexity of your apps.
Analyze case by case.
NoSQL: New stuff on the air
New generation databases, like NoSQL, can even have birth for your organization directly in the public cloud.
Start asking for high volume of unstructured data or performance issues with the scalability on relational databases.
Cloud providers use different NoSQL technologies. It could be a little overwhelmed to choose the right one. Sometimes it depends on the use case (sort of queries, costs, throughput, app code, scalability) or basically in what cloud vendor most of your applications resides. I’d say the most popular are Mongo DB, AWS Dynamo, and lately GCP Big Table.
Finally, Big data analytics for massive info can also be a interesting point to attack. GCP Big Query have many public datasets ready to use regarding different needs like climate, sports, flights…
VMWare: A great move from AWS
6 years ago, I thought OpenStack/KVM would rule and take a big part of the market from VMWare. Well, it seems it was too much risk and complexity for the Enterprise market – you can’t blame it on the customers, they have a life! VMWare is sill the preferred solution for compute virtualization. OpenStack seems more appealing for Telcos and their VNFs.
It seems the worn out motivation for compute virtualization of optimizing compute resources is long gone. They are not enough to beat public cloud benefits. Companies wants more savings like getting rid of hardware refresh cycles.
It’s not a surprise then that AWS is having a blast taking ESX instances to the public cloud lately. From the point of view of the operation, the transition is smoothly. You can stay with your vCenter managing instances almost on the same way you use to do it on-premises.
Where is then the opportunity for managed services? Well, change is hard for any organization. The migration of instances have some complexity, plus some additional challenge on the operation. Also, customers will want to take advantage mixing some other services in AWS like load balancers and S3.
Providers can support your customers on that transition, analyze benefits – build a business case to justify the change based on mid-term savings -, design and even take over an important role of the operation.
An important trend in Big Data analytics is SAP HANA. Plus, SAP is forcing all customers to move to HANA from traditional DB instances like Oracle or SQL.
SAP HANA bring valuable benefits regarding real-time analysis of massive amounts of information collected from many sources. Something that relational databases are struggling due its nature and structure and mostly because they’re still working on disk.
This is also an important opportunity to develop SAP advanced managed services: From Advanced SAP BASIS to more specialize skills as industry specific data scientists.
As soon as SAP ECC/BW start working on HANA, then you can either deploy what-if scenarios directly on relational data with no concerns on the database performance, or more complex use cases like: get suggested actions in real-time to reduce churn after pulling data from many sources (IoT, call center logs…).
Build a SAP on HANA on-premises is not easy and cheap. You must acquire expensive specific certified hardware. Surely, troubleshooting can be hard if you don’t have the skills in house. Most of the cloud providers offer a specific IaaS for HANA. You can check them over here: https://www.sap.com/dmc/exp/2014-09-02-hana-hardware/enEN/iaas.html.
Customers would apply to BYOL and externalize SAP BASIS services to more experienced providers dealing with cloud resources. Unless you expect those cloud vendors will add traditional backup services based on tape to their portfolio. I wouldn’t hold my breath.
CI/CD and the magic of containers
If you are familiar with CI/CD (Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery ), then you know it’s just a set of practices to go from code to production in the cheapest and fastest way. Containers are a key component on it.
There are so many tools on the market – and no doubt that more coming – to create this appealing pipe from dev to production.
All public clouds have developed there own version of Kubernetes (K8s) services, that is the most used container orchestration software until now.
Dev teams are not just buying K8s, they are buying the agility to release apps faster – or fail faster. Then, you have to understand their process from code to production. That pipe depends on many things like the code of preference, how micro-services interact, how they work with databases, CI/CD apps of choice (github, gitlab, jenkins)…
Also, monitoring is an under-rated topic that should be covered and other oppty to sell more subscription services along with managed services.
Appreciate if you make it until this point – even if you skip some or maybe all my notes.
The biggest challenge is to build that sort of cutting-edge talent in house – Like It wasn’t hard enough to find and hire the right people with those highly demanded skills. And it’s even harder to retain them though.
There is not perfection building what is required when you have to deal with talented people. You may start with certified contractors or partners.
Also, you need to start developing partnerships with vendors like Google, AWS, Microsoft, SAP, VMWare… that will take time though, and some of them will ask some level of commitment or investment at front.
Start simple, maybe picking CI/CD and then adding tools, and then some others. Look into your organization, I am sure you can get some certified professionals on some of those techs that I have mentioned.
And always remember that the hardest part is yet to come: working on the distribution and go-to-market strategy.
If you have doubts, ping me.
See ya and happy selling