It’s certainly an exciting time for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). After all, the past 18 months have forced IT leaders all over the world to adjust or prioritize projects in response to changing market demands and organizational needs. As a result, IaaS spending has exploded, with the worldwide IaaS market growing 40% in 2020 to $64 billion, according to Gartner.
Most partners look at these figures and are understandably keen to begin their journey into the world of IaaS. However, wanting to offer IaaS is very different from being ready to offer IaaS. In our conversations with customers, it’s clear that those wanting to enter the game must properly address the urgency of adopting new cloud solutions and service models.
To unlock more opportunities and build for growth, Ingram Micro Cloud developed a solution journey framework to help our partners navigate the many IaaS service offerings from the big hyperscalers. The four guiding principles of our IaaS Partner Journey – Optimize, Secure, Transform, and Innovate – fast-track partners to accept where they stand in cloud maturity and establish a roadmap to innovation. Together with our partner enablement programs and dedicated teams, we help channel partners advance their cloud journey across building, accelerating and innovating their business.
This IaaS roadmap starts with step one, Optimize, which is all about enabling partners to help customers maximize the value of their current investments in the cloud. Next is Secure, which is dedicated to helping partners and their customers navigate the complex security landscape and ‘secure’ their growth in the cloud. Then comes Transform, covering everything from the review process to rearchitecting for evolutionary transformation of a customer’s cloud business. Lastly, Innovate empowers partners and their customers to develop innovative services leveraging the latest technologies to solve unique business problems that customers face today.
Let’s start with step one and the first entry of this blog series: Optimize.
The Importance of Optimization
Put simply, optimization is about building the right foundation, which makes it a logical starting point for any partner in the early days of IaaS. Moreover, it’s especially important because many partners skip this step and try to grow too much, too quickly, without first building to best practices.
We often see organizations looking to break into IaaS with their sights firmly set on growth alone. In fact, we see it more often than not, even though a lack of optimization undercuts any partner’s lasting cloud position. Effectively leveraging the cloud requires investments in building capabilities, such as migration applications and advancing offerings and services, as well as operating as cost-effectively as possible.
In this first step of the journey, we advise partners to maximize the value of their investments before moving any further. With customer needs rapidly changing alongside ever-evolving technology, partners need to get the most out of the investments they make to continue to grow, prosper and build up competitive advantages.
Starting With The Right Framework
Once optimized in IaaS, partners can create upsell opportunities, outperform the competition, develop more strategic customer engagements, think about developing intellectual property (IP) and differentiate themselves by innovating and creating business value. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – organizations that try to innovate while simultaneously cutting costs often fail because the very costs they are cutting stifle innovation. For that reason, partners are best advised to optimize first and utilize the freed-up time and budget to move through the growth journey that leads to innovation.
One of the keys to building everything in the right way is the Well-Architected Framework. This framework is most popularly coined by AWS but is also used by other cloud service providers to define architecture, design principles and ensure best practices. The framework includes five pillars – Cost Optimization, Reliability, Operational Excellence, Performance Efficiency, and Security – to help cloud architects build secure, high-performing, resilient and efficient infrastructure for their applications and workloads.
It’s best thought of as a tool that ensures the cloud foundation is built strong and stays strong, thereby providing a consistent approach to evaluate architectures and implement designs that can scale over time.
The Beginnings of Automation
Partners that adopt the Well-Architected Framework’s five pillars have proven time and again to realize key advantages in the cloud. Importantly, the framework also allows partners to test the waters of automation by scaling workloads up and down with changing demand, programming systems to achieve consistency and reliability, testing at scale to increase predictability and making informed decisions with accuracy and reliability.
At this stage, the automation is only basic, yet already delivers a marked improvement on what is possible with on-premise environments. The result is reduced costs and increased margins, especially when combined with reserving capacity in the cloud. This is another great way to optimize virtual machines and other resources to the best of their ability. Again, at this point in the journey, it’s all about setting the right processes in place to then be able to scale successfully.
Preventing Problems From The Start
This first step of the IaaS Partner Journey might not be the sexiest, but it is arguably the most important since optimization can seriously make or break long-term success. For example, consider that some partners leverage the cloud without maximizing its full potential, or others implement automation without experience. These inefficiencies can cost partners dearly if not rooted out from the beginning.
At Ingram Micro Cloud, we’ve seen too many partners consider the cloud transition as the end destination. This is why we designed the IaaS Partner Journey as a staged approach to a hyperscale environment – to support partners and enable the right solutions with training, services and content. We have various proven third-party solutions in our portfolio and can also support partners working with native tools that connect to the IaaS environment.
It’s time for partners to reevaluate their strategy and be proactive in unlocking more opportunities. I’ll see you for part two: Secure.