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Cloud and hosting providers: Are you leveraging public cloud to your own benefit?

Mara McMahon

Cloud and hosting providers: Are you leveraging the public cloud opportunity?SHOUTING: Show me the opportunity. Show me the opportunity. Show me the opportunity. OK, you get the idea—anyway, I probably had you at Shouting. It’s here—managed public cloud. Don’t believe me? Let me show you the opportunity.

The managed cloud is one of largest growth areas of the managed infrastructure market. Over the next 4 years, industry analysts are projecting a 160% increase in managed cloud services1, which includes reselling, consulting, and managed services on public cloud resources. This is not a surprising statistic. Public cloud adoption is still growing in large part because it provides the agility and flexibility required for your enterprise customers’ digital transformation initiatives.

But we all know that enterprises are not using public cloud resources in isolation. Rather, they are more interested in hybrid cloud. Even more have a multicloud strategy. The Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report​ found that 93% of enterprises have a multicloud strategy and that 87% have a hybrid cloud strategy. To help their enterprise customers execute on these strategies, service providers are focusing on integrating public cloud resources with their private cloud services. Service providers adopt new tools and capabilities to manage and govern cloud resources across hybrid and multicloud environments. How are you adapting your storage infrastructure and the services you offer to accommodate the demand for new solutions?​

We talk to a lot of service providers. We’re seeing firsthand that more and more providers are offering hyperscale cloud management services—from specialized services like automation and analytics to entire cloud deployments​.

Why are enterprises relying so heavily on service providers to manage their public cloud and hybrid cloud deployments? Because it’s still difficult for them to manage them on their own. Most enterprises don’t have a solid strategy in place for cloud transformation, and they lack the tools, resources, and processes to do it right.

These deficiencies mean that the enterprises have a greater likelihood for failure. There’s a greater likelihood of improper security and compliance protocols, of incompatibility issues from misconfiguring apps, and of non-optimized cloud resources that waste time and money. Integrating public cloud resources with private cloud creates even more complexity, so it’s no wonder enterprises struggle. Rather than compete with the hyperscalers, service providers we work with are figuring out how to integrate public cloud management into their service offerings. That’s the way to win more customers and to gain customer confidence and loyalty.

Although public cloud-native compute and network components have been able to deliver on most enterprise requirements, native storage capabilities in public clouds have not. Until recently—that is, before NetApp® storage capabilities were integrated into the three largest hyperscaler clouds—enterprises lacked the ability to get the storage features in the public cloud that they were used to and that they required. For their business-critical workloads, the enterprises need capabilities like file storage and easy portability, as well as efficiency and cost-reducing features like compression, deduplication, and tiering. Further, they need security features like encryption and compliance controls, performance features like quality of service (QoS), and easy backup. NetApp meets these needs, and in doing so, has given you as service providers the tools you need. With those tools, you can create a consistent approach to enterprise data management for your customers across public, private, and on-premises clouds.

I’d like to share a few examples of how our service provider customers provided smooth enterprise data management for their customers across complex hybrid cloud environments.

Let’s look at BT.

BT saw the demand from their enterprise customers for better management, visibility, control, and integration of their public and private cloud services. BT had a long history of managing their customers’ private cloud environments. But they wanted to be able to integrate that with their customers’ public cloud resources into an integrated offering that allowed movement and management of data across the entire hybrid cloud environment. They wanted the ability to put data in the right place, at the right time, and at the right cost to meet customers’ application and user needs.

BT embedded NetApp® public cloud storage services into the BT network, with direct connections into all major public clouds. This embedding seamlessly connected BT’s NetApp-enabled hosted private cloud with NetApp public cloud storage services in the major hyperscalers (AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure).​ BT productized the solution as a fully managed hybrid cloud data service designed for enterprise customers with global or pan-regional footprints​. Together, NetApp and BT created a go-to-market plan that included help with productization, operations, marketing, and selling. Take a look at the details of their solution on the BT website.

As a result, BT is able to distribute workloads across private cloud, public cloud, and on premises, to suit their customers’ business and budget. In doing so, BT ensures that user experience is optimized and secured—from corporate office to home office, data center, branch, and cloud. BT helps their customers:

  • Reduce costs of their public cloud storage through storage efficiencies and tiering
  • Protect their storage in public clouds against data loss and ransomware
  • Optimize the location of their data to boost availability and performance, along with guaranteed QoS for mission-critical workloads in the cloud
Bottom line: By adding NetApp capabilities into its core network, BT has been able to develop new innovative services and manage customer data across multiple locations—at the core, in the cloud, and at the edge of their customers’ environments.

Another example is a well-known service provider that wanted to offer enterprise performance in Azure for customers who use NFS file shares and run high-availability (HA) enterprise workloads. This service provider leveraged NetApp’s Azure NetApp Files service in the public cloud to help them save time and reduce complexity in deploying workloads that require HA performance. The provider created a premium enterprise-performance storage service for NFS/SMB/CIFS file shares for their managed cloud customers. This new service increased the provider’s revenue and allowed the provider to better suit the needs of new and existing customers and to promote customer loyalty.

In sum, hybrid cloud and multicloud services are in demand. Enterprises can’t go it alone. They need help from partners like you that can integrate all the parts into a seamless whole for the best performance, availability, security, and cost efficiency. Be sure you have the right tools to do that integration. In doing so, you’ll differentiate yourself and solidify lasting relationships with your customers.

Do you want help with defining your service and making money? Visit our Cloud and Hosting site or reach out to

1 Source: Structure Research Market Share Report, Managed Infrastructure 2019-2024, March 2020​

Mara McMahon

Mara McMahon is the Head of Partner and Service Provider Go-to-Market at NetApp delivered through the Fueled by NetApp program. She is a service provider expert in GTM activities with a maniacal focus on maximizing return on investment from infrastructure assets. Mara serves as a business consultant to partners and service providers across the globe through the Fueled by NetApp program which is a free service designed to ensure the desired business outcomes resulting from NetApp technology purchase are achieved. Mara has been working at NetApp (formerly SolidFire) for over five years and prior to SolidFire/NetApp, spent a number of years in product marketing and product management at a variety of service providers around the world including Cable & Wireless, SAVVIS, Verizon and Tata Communications. She has over 20 years’ experience working in executive, Product Management and Product Marketing roles. Mara has a BS from Wittenberg University and an MBA in marketing from The Kogod School of Business, American University. Mara looks forward to working with you in maximizing your ROI.

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