A few members of the OnRamp team and I recently headed to San Diego for the 2015 NexGen Cloud Conference. The conference focuses on trends, innovation in tech, market forecasts, sharing customer stories and perspectives, and bringing together vendor executives, solution providers, and IT pros all interested in the impact cloud-based solutions are having on business as we know it.
Speakers focused on topics like cloud migration, IoT, compliance and security, and how cloud continues to change and adapt, as technology continues to drive innovation.
On a day-to-day basis I’m focused on compliance, and providing value for MSPs, so it’s not surprising that some of my key takeaways from the event were in those areas. Here are some thoughts in that regard:
What MSPs Really Want in Managed Services.
There was quite a bit of conversation on the topic of self-service cloud environments, which can certainly be beneficial if that’s what you value. It’s important to understand, however, that within the MSP community, self-service is not always ideal. This was reinforced in multiple conversations at NexGen Cloud. Many MSPs are interested in offloading the mundane, everyday infrastructure management tasks to their trusted hosting partners while layering their managed services on top of the hosted solutions. Hearing this feedback was extremely useful, and it definitely coincided with what we see and hear from our existing partners on a regular basis.
What Are the Hot Tools for MSPs?
There was much focus during the course of the presentations on tools available to MSPs for things like cloud orchestration and DevOps. In the conversations I had with MSPs, however, there was one key area of focus: they are in great need of tools centered around HIPAA compliance. That was exciting to hear, given the fact that our HIPAA Risk Management Tool addresses this need. Proof that we are on the right track in terms of the solutions we’ve focused most on developing for our partners.
The Need for Compliance Solutions.
Compliance is, of course, always a hot topic, and it was mentioned in many of the presentations. This is largely necessitated by the fact that MSPs are seeing increased demand for compliant solutions. In many cases, their end users need the ability to audit their providers. That’s where a big difference between self-service public clouds and managed private clouds comes into play. Public clouds are obviously beneficial for a vast number of use cases and workloads but, when it comes to compliant solutions, regular data center and infrastructure audits are frequently required. While completing (or even starting) these audits within a public cloud is challenging at best, providing solutions with “auditable compliance” in a managed private cloud is certainly possible, and these types solutions are in high demand. Again, for me, this offered confirmation that our team’s work developing this very offering was a smart move.
Cloud is not only the future of business–it’s the way smart businesses operate today. As such, and as it relates to the small to midsized market, it’s no surprise to see major brands like VMware, IBM, Cisco, AWS and others working to establish themselves as best-in-class solution providers for midsized businesses and their cloud (and technology) needs. Probably what I enjoy most about an event like NexGen Cloud is that while it’s nice to hear what the “big guys” are focused on, it’s more valuable to be immersed in the MSP crowd attending the conference, hearing their real, day-to-day concerns, and thinking about how the solutions we offer, or the solutions we have in development, can serve their needs. And while of course the “big guys” position themselves as the perfect solution for the MSP audience, getting the kind of personalized service, ongoing consultative guidance, and partner enablement from a provider like us is viewed as quite valuable. I didn’t need NexGen Cloud to tell me that, but it’s never a bad thing to hear that—again—from the MSP audience. Looking forward to diving into a new year with lots of great clients and more on the horizon, and continuing to do the things we do best.
Did you attend NexGen Cloud? If so, what parts of the conference were most appealing to you? What challenges do you face now, and in the coming year? What solutions are at the top of your radar screen? I’d love to hear your thoughts on these things.