Managed Services Providers (MSPs) are in business to help clients achieve their objectives in a cost-effective manner by taking full advantage of the capabilities of modern IT technology. At least, that’s what clients expect of the MSPs they partner with. In today’s world, with the amounts of information companies use growing at exponential rates, that often means helping customers find ways to meet an ever-increasing need for more data storage capacity.
For many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) it’s becoming prohibitively expensive to continue adding capacity by purchasing more and more storage hardware. Perhaps even more importantly, the inherent limitations of traditional on-premises storage solutions are depriving those companies of the flexibility and agility they need if they are to succeed in today’s rapidly changing business environment.
As recent surveys indicate, a majority of IT professionals now look to the cloud to overcome the restrictions their existing storage solutions impose on their organizations. And forward-looking MSPs are taking the lead to ensure that the substantial benefits of the cloud storage model are made available to their clients.
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How The Cloud Makes Storage Less Costly
The traditional storage solutions still in use at many SMBs suffer from several limitations that restrict the ability of those companies to quickly react as business conditions change. Foremost among these is the high cost of using capital funds (CapEx) to purchase additional storage hardware to meet ever-growing demands for more capacity.
By offering a storage solution incorporating cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (STaaS), MSPs can help their clients meet their storage needs, and keep up with growing demand, at a substantially lower cost than with the traditional approach. STaaS customers need not procure any hardware. Instead, they purchase cloud-based storage services for a monthly fee. In other words, they can shift their spending from CapEx to OpEx. With no up-front purchase costs and monthly charges that may well be lower than the operating costs associated with on-premises installations, companies that turn to the cloud to provide their storage needs can significantly reduce their up-front and ongoing expenses.
Customers who wish to retain all or parts of their data storage in-house for security or performance reasons can also lower their costs by partnering with the right STaaS vendor. Zadara Storage, for example, offers an On-Premises-as-a-Service (OPaaS) solution that implements a private cloud on site. Zadara installs its own hardware/software resources at the customer’s location, and monitors, maintains, and updates them remotely. With no more than a six months commitment, the customer receives the same OpEx pay-as-you-go storage services as they would through the public cloud.
How Cloud Storage Helps Make Companies More Flexible and Agile
Normally, the storage hardware in corporate data centers is scheduled to be replaced every three to five years. That time frame is based on the rate at which storage units are expected to reach end-of-life, and also on the rigidity of the capital funding process, which requires that spending is planned well in advance. But such long refresh cycles are simply incompatible with the speed of change in both technology and business conditions that characterizes today’s environment. If, for example, a client experiences a sudden surge in the number of online visitors to its website, having the site slow down significantly, or even go down completely because of insufficient storage capacity to handle the demand, would be a major catastrophe.
Storage administrators attempt to ensure that they always have sufficient storage capacity to accommodate unexpected surges in demand by over-provisioning. That is, they purchase and keep on hand extra storage units that normally sit idle, but are available to be brought online when needed. Not only is this an expensive solution, requiring as it does that capital funds be used to purchase equipment that may never be used, but it is also unreliable.
Due to the lead time required for allocating capital funds, the amount of storage equipment that will be needed at any particular time must be forecast months in advance. Such predictions have not proved to be notably accurate. The result is that in a business environment characterized by numerous rapid changes that could not be anticipated in advance, companies that depend on the over-provisioning strategy may find themselves unable to respond quickly to the new opportunities or problems they may encounter at any time.
With STaaS there need be no delays with bringing additional capacity online as needed. In fact, extra capacity can be added automatically and almost instantaneously through software. A top-flight STaaS provider, such as Zadara, will ensure that the physical storage resources to meet even sudden and unexpected increases in demand are always available.
“Overall, we are seeing 80% better performance with Zadara Storage than with our prior storage solution.” — Chris Jones, Infrastructure Architect at Netrepid
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One MSP’s Experience Offering STaaS To Its Clients
Netrepid is a Service Provider that provides colocation infrastructure and application hosting services that work side by side with a large variety of industries to accelerate their technology evolution from the ground to the cloud.
Recognizing that the ever-shifting storage requirements of their customers demanded not only substantially lower costs but also a level of flexibility and agility that only a cloud-based solution could provide, Netrepid decided to partner with Zadara to offer a top-flight STaaS solution. In fact, they incorporated Zadara’s On-Premises-as-a-Service offering.
According to Chris Jones, Infrastructure Architect at Netrepid, their partnership has greatly improved their business model and performance. He states, “Overall, we are seeing 80% better performance with Zadara than with our prior storage solution.”
STaaS May Be The Solution Your Clients Need
Many SMBs lack the expertise and the confidence to evaluate on their own whether the cloud is a viable option to meet their storage needs. That’s where a good MSP can step in to help clients understand how a best-of-breed cloud storage solution can help propel their business to the next level.
Partnering with a first-class STaaS provider enables you to provide your customers with a cost-effective enterprise-grade storage solution
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