We're deploying a Vblock, that's exciting but the real challenge is - what are we going to do with it? As a service provider, how will we turn this into services and revenue?
I have a view that we need to develop and provide services that are easy to deploy and easy to consume. I'm calling these Enterprise Ready services for the moment. These are applications and services which organisations can use to improve business efficiency, create collaboration between teams and improve access to information. Our background and skills lie in Microsoft technologies - Exchange, SharePoint, Windows Server, Active Directory, SQL Server and the like. So it makes sense to start there.
I also believe that there's a need to provide a level of services that sit below the application at the server/resource layer - servers/VMs on demand for projects, development needs, testing environments etc. but something more than utility services, i.e. the provision of raw CPU & storage on an hour basis.
At the moment, v1 of the services stack looks like this:
Application Cloud (Shared)
Optimised Applications - Shared & Automated
Managed Applications – vApp
e.g. Hosted Communications/Collaboration, Database services, Dynamics CRM, WSS3.0 etc.
Connected Cloud (Private, not shared)
Dedicated Services, (Partner Hosted)
Integration to on-Premise systems
Active Directory trust/replication
e.g. Dedicated Exchange, SharePoint Server, OCS/UM
Critical Application Hosting - Web & Media services
Stand-alone platforms – ISV hosting
Cloud (Resource) Platform
Resource-pool VMs, Infrastructure as a Service
Managed Windows servers
Storage as a Service
*These are just my names for these services, they will change and evolve for sure… and I know there are many different views and definitions for cloud.
Over the next few weeks we'll complete the build, testing and a real-world proof of concept deployment on the Vblock. While we're doing this I'll go into more detail around these services and explain exactly why they are going to be "Enterprise Ready" and how their deployment will differ from raw cloud services such as Azure and AWS