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The Unmet Demand for Premium Cloud Monitoring: Key Strategies for Capitalizing

Author: Ken Vanderweel

Working with 451 Research, CA recently conducted an extensive survey for cloud service providers (CSPs). The survey paints a compelling picture for CSPs: Enterprises are confronting significant challenges with monitoring in today’s hybrid cloud environments, and they’re inclined to have CSPs help them address these challenges.

In our previous article, we highlighted some of the most important findings we took from this survey. In this article, the third and last in our series on this topic, we’ll examine some strategies that CSPs can employ as they look to incorporate premium cloud monitoring services into their portfolio.

Strategies for Capitalizing on the Market Demand

Opportunities exist for CSPs with a range of backgrounds, offerings and business models. As the survey responses to the 28 pain points attest, there are a broad range of services that customers need today—representing a range of opportunities and approaches for service providers looking to address these requirements. Many CSPs are already delivering highly managed cloud services. With their expertise, staff, systems and processes, these CSPs can be in an optimal position to deliver new services that address the pain points outlined in the survey. At a high level, premium monitoring services can fall into several categories:

  • Multi-cloud monitoring. Enterprises are willing to pay CSPs to deliver monitoring services for their broader environment. The survey shows they are willing have a CSP monitor not only what’s in their own cloud but what’s running in customers’ premises and in other providers’ environments.
  • Deep monitoring of specific environments. Both in customers’ premises and in externally sourced environments, increasingly sophisticated, dynamic technologies continue to be employed. This can include hyper-converged infrastructures like Nutanix, Docker containers, OpenStack software and more—and each of these technologies can present unique monitoring requirements and challenges. CSPs can establish capabilities for providing extensive visibility into these environments, which can be the foundation of a differentiated, high-value service.
  • End-to-end service monitoring. Today, a given business service may rely on a complex mix on different environments and technologies. CSPs can provide complete visibility into all the environments and components that underpin a specific service, and track the quality of the experience from the end user’s perspective.

Sample CSP Scenarios

In addition to conducting a survey of more than 200 enterprises, 451 Research also interviewed several cloud service providers to examine their businesses and how they’re capitalizing on premium cloud monitoring services. (These interviews were conducted with the understanding that companies would remain anonymous, so we’ve eliminated any specific identifiers of the CSPs interviewed.) Following are brief summaries of these CSP’s approaches and how they’re addressing customers’ requirements.

CSP #1

This CSP’s customers needed help. The internal IT teams at these companies were accustomed to dealing with static, on-premises environments, and had very little experience with managing dynamic cloud environments and associated management tools. Further, these new environments and tools were completely isolated from legacy help desks and other ITSM tools and processes.

To serve its customers, the CSP built a cloud-based management platform that includes capabilities for asset management, monitoring, billing, alarms and ITSM. Most importantly, customers can use this platform to gain unified visibility of all their environments, whether they reside on premises, in the CSP’s cloud or in the cloud of another provider. This unified console means customers don’t have to log in and out of multiple providers’ consoles, and, more importantly, they can track performance from a single place, which enables more effective management and faster troubleshooting.

CSP #2

Among this provider’s customer base, many organizations had dabbled in running workloads in IaaS environments, but they were encountering a number of obstacles. For some, egress and ingress costs were too high. For others, these environments meant they had to give up too much control, which presented compliance and security concerns. Many also struggled with a lack of visibility into “black boxes,” the converged, virtualized environments running in the cloud. Finally, customers were quickly overwhelmed with the massive amounts of time it would take to isolate the cause of issues.

As customers move away from the comfort of their known, established on-premises environments, this CSP helps ensure they always have the visibility and control they’ve been accustomed to. This CSP provides unified visibility of all the customer’s cloud and on-premises environments, including deep visibility into converged infrastructures. Through these services, customers can significantly streamline operations and speed mean time to resolution. By delivering sophisticated correlation, analysis and reporting, they have been able to deliver high-value services—and capitalize on new business opportunities.

CSP #3

This CSP’s customers were wrestling with complexity that seemed to grow on a daily basis. Internal teams were tasked with managing more types of components, more specialized components, more advanced virtualization and more cloud vendors and environments.  While customers were growing increasingly reliant on IaaS providers to run servers, the internal teams were still being tasked with managing all their applications. When issues arose, they struggled to determine which environment and which specific element was the cause.

This CSP responded by giving customers capabilities for consolidating management of their environments. They provide platforms for managing not just a certain brand of servers, but all the servers and systems they’re running. They’ve consolidated management of the entire data center—including network, power/cooling, operating system and applications—and across their provider environments.

CSP #4

In working with customers, this CSP was hearing that executives were feeling like they had a lot of monitoring in place, but they weren’t getting any value. Further, as new systems and services came online, they had to keep adding monitoring tools, which led to spiraling costs, without any increase in the value being gained.

The CSP began taking a service-centric approach to its monitoring offerings. For example, for a manufacturing client, the CSP provides monitoring of the procurement service, including all the underlying systems and environments that support the service. The CSP provides visibility from three key perspectives: the customer or end user, the development environment and the infrastructure. Through these service-level approaches, the CSP provides truly business-level insights, fueling enhancements in operational efficiencies, business performance and risk mitigation.

Conclusion

For many CSPs, premium cloud monitoring services represent an unmet customer demand—and an untapped business opportunity. Bonus: To learn more, be sure to download a new report from 451 Research. The report offers key insights from an extensive survey conducted with enterprise executives. The report reveals the specific pain points that enterprise IT teams are confronting—and the specific services they’d be willing to pay a premium for.

Ken Vanderweel is senior director of service provider solutions marketing at CA Technologies. Read more CA blogs here.

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