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Managed service providers need to weigh up their cloud options before their customers do.
bv Paul Furber Spon.vrrcd

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., g? Kaseya
the managed service provider (MSP) market go the way of the dinosaur in the age of cloud? Or

ill

is the cloud an opportunity for


MSPs to become more agile and efficient? Is it a good excuse for reinvention? When cr-rstomers can pick and choose services online - and advanced services too then where does that leave the local MSP? For Rob Sussman, ioint CEO of the Integr8 Group, the cloud has prodded both his company and his client base in the right direction.

"Cloud has recluired us to change our bnsiness, has forced to look at global trends and to look at its adoption in the local market. I think it's been very good in that it's educated our clients on the benefits of a consolidated, centralised and
r-rs

managed service." Glen Andrew, clirector of Enyuka.com agrees. "We found it to be an opportunity both for us to educate the client base and for Lls to move into the space. However, in order for the model to work, we neeci decent connectivity." Steverr Preston, director of Xpand Il says there's both poten-

tial for MSP's existing skills and for education. "Whatever is being stored in the cloud is still being stored server-side. There will still be a number of servers that will need support and there will still be devices that connect to those servers. While the devices may be different, the execu-

Robert Sussman, IntegrB


ph,xourapln Karolina Komendera

tives we see in businesses we support don't have much knowledge of cloud. I don't think it's going to affect business per se." Jakobus Koorts, director at Numata, says most IT companies had a break-fix model a few years ago and that's evolved into the managed service provider model. "Right now, we really don't have a choice: we need to adapt our service offerings and in 2072, that means cloud offerings.,, JC Prrtter, director at NLr mata, agrees. 'As an MSP, you are the trusted advisor for business. yonr cllstomers do come to yon first when they want to know more about cloud. So the MSP is the ideal gateway to take the customer into the cloud. There's two ways to do that: doing cloud consulting and providing hybrid cloud sohrtions where you move certain services into a cloud environment. From there you can introduce virtual services through the cloud." Integr8's Sussman says the competitive landscape is changing and the competitors themselves are changing. "The telcos are moving into the MSP space. Globally you also see a lot of telcos providing MSP services. So we've had to sit down and decide what we're going to do: are we going to be a datacentre business? Or a hosting provider in someone else's datacentre? Where does the telco end and the MSP begin? We've established very close partnerships with a telco. In the past, Integr8's biggest partner was Microsoft. Now it's MTN. The world is changing." Anton Coetser, services director of Triple4, says the MSp's natural evolution is to move up the value stack. "We're now packaging prodr-rcts into our managed services. So instead of just selling managed services, we're selling products and the vah-re-add is the managed service. So we have products in the cloud and we support those prodr-rcts." Mark Geschke, MD of Space Age Technologies, sees the rnove to clor-rd as part of something larger.

March 2012 brainstorm

MSF ROUh,IDTAELE

Mrtrtrtsc,l scrt'iccs

KoorLs, Numara; (be ow

(Righ0 JC Putter and Jakobus fron Lop) G er^ Andrew, Enyuka.com; Mark Geschke, Space

h,;

Age fecl'nologies; ard


Brett Scott, Xpand lT

plrotogfrl)hl Karolina Komendera

w
"Cloud is certainly a threat to ottr bttsiness I take tl-re long-term view. Cloud is jttst one part of many tlencls that are comit-tg towherr gether. We see bring-your-own-dcvice, we sce rnassivc. dataceutres beirrg built. It's not abottt pure' virtualisatior-r btrt someoue else matraging it for yor-r. What is going to happe.n over thc next couple' of years is that most compauies will have infrastructure sotnewhere 'ottt thcrc' atrcl smallel provide'rs won't have tl-re scale. In that scenario, we will have to transfornt. We do a lot of work with Office 365 and there is no server management anymore it's gone. It's changing very fast. How we maltaie environt-uents ancl what we managc will change'." Ntrmata's Koorts says the recluiremettt for managemc'nt expertisc wou't change.

ptrlcly be'cause the.y were deprenrlerrt on a heacl office., which is t-to louger going tlown c-ltte to prower iailr-rre.s, Sencrators
droprpecl by 50 percent

not kicking in ancl councctivitv goirrg tlowrt.


Suppr911 has halvecl cvcrr

thottgh tlcvice t-uaualge-

ment has increasecl because of tablet usagc."

User adoption
Prestor-r aurees.

"To reitcrate what Brctt sair'I, rloving that cttstorncr ir-rto the cloud has been great. I hear what

Malk

says about the clourl bttt cttskrmers see these

things affcctir-rg their bottortr lirres. The cloutl r'r,ill happre'n, it is a proccss, but it's cortrit-tg." Sussr-nan rt'ould love to move all of his clie.nts
to the clotrd.

"Wc sprecialisc in the SME ir-rriustry artything betwecn ten aud 250 ttsers - arrd the Percepiion of cloucl compttting is causitrg a lot of
proble'ms. It's our job to eclucatc the customcr aud to be the single point of contact. We nced to have a close rclatiot-rship witl-r tl-re telcos br-rt at the sarne time you will always have part ctf the iufrastrttctr,rre tl-rat must be plivate. We'need to explair-r that cloucl cornputiug wou't take away all physical infrastructure completely. The biggest call centre in thc world is virtual but therc are'still servers rlltlr-rir-rg it somewhere."

single one oi ttttr cttstomers

"Our view is that ii we cottkl trrigratt' evcrv attc-l ptlt thenl ill the

clouci and nlanage thenr cer-rtrallv rtc n'ctttlcl clo it tomorrow. But tl-rc re.alitv in Soutl-r Africa is tltat we need to track user arloptic'rt-t of cloucl. Tl-rere are technical issues with latency ancl bancllvitlth.

The first tl-rit-rg we sce' going itrkr cloucl is maril. We'vc giverr clierrts options: private, pulrlic or hybricl. We'r,c also offerecl thet-n a cloucl t-uoclel witl-r thcir own inirastrttctttre, lt'hich \^/e Irla11agc. Tl-re r-narkct is cl-ranging and those conrpanies that arerr't here haven't chatrgetl r,r'ith the. tirt-res. We sec a corlvergcncc, r-tot arotrncl trttifietl cttm-

Ancl cnstomers do want a soltttion that incrcases their rcliability at lc'ss cost. Cctmmetrts Brett Scott, dit'ector of Xpancl IT: "Yott can look at an example wherc we took a clic'nt onto a privatc cloucl last year. I'cl say their break-fix has

murrications, but arotttrcl telcos. If I warrt private cloud, I wor-rlcl go RackSpacc. If I want ptrblic, tl-rer-r it woukl bc Amazotr. Urrfortur-rately, Amazon isn't builcling c'latacerrtres here, atrcl r-reither are Microsoft or Coogle.."

9$
68
brainstorm March 2012

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(Top

left) Garlh Hayward, Kaseya Intenrationa

Dtlt's that lttc.tll .l cllallgc itt otttstlttrcillg.rs.l


rvlrolc? Sttsstn.tlt
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(From top) Burger Lourens, Bytes Managed So ut ons; Anton Ccel:," Trip e4; and Steven Preston, Xpari

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