I’ve posted before about my impressions of CloudSystem Service Provider, but it seems I had some facts wrong about the solution. I’ve had a lot of exposure to the core CloudSystem solution from briefings and demonstrations from HP, but whenever discussed, it seems I missed a critical fact about the Service Provider offering. HP is positioning CloudSystem Service Provider as a solution to assist smaller providers in offering third party cloud services and becoming a cloud broker for their existing customers. I had wrongly assumed that like the other CloudSystem offerings, all of the cloud solutions would be housed in the same, local infrastructure.
CloudSystem Service Provider is really built around a concept that HP calls its Aggregation Platform for Software as a Service (or AP4SaaS). The AP4SaaS allows the service provider to create a very customized portal experience for their customers where they can order cloud services hosted locally by the provider, hosted at a third party datacenter or even cloud services provided fully by third party cloud vendors, all while keeping the customer, their billing and relationship in-house.
It really introduces the concept of a cloud broker, a company who has expertise and knowledge to assist customers with cloud services without having all the cloud solutions in house. It allows the broker to provide the best of breed cloud services to their customers by selecting the top-tier cloud providers as their backend partners. It’s an interesting proposition for smaller, regional providers who cannot compete with the scale of an Amazon, Saavis or Terremark. Its the cloud version of VAR, where a provider packages their services and expertise with the product offering of their partner, and where the service provider retains the billing and customer service relationship with the end-user.
HP has worked with a set of SaaS providers to allow for API calls directly to them to provision and provide services for CloudSystem Service Provider. These ties allow for a fully-integrated solution. Within the portfolio of available SaaS solutions are video and web conferencing tools, project management tools, traditional Microsoft Sharepoint and Exchange hosted, and mobile device management tools. It’s an impressive slate of solutions that can be provided quickly without any capital expense.
But in addition to the cloud services, CloudSystem at its core is an orchestration and automation solution that the Service Provider can use to host their own customized or local solutions where they make sense. And like the other flavors of CloudSystem, the pre-defined Cloud Maps are really what help to drive repeatable, consistent deployments of any hosted software. While I have been able to find some other software packages that assist a company in becoming a cloud broker, I have yet to see a fully integrated solution of infrastructure, orchestration and cloud brokering software in a single package or from a single vendor. In that, HP is unique.
Here is a short video about CloudSystem Service Provider: