A few weeks ago the cloud punditry was excited by the announcement that Amazon was introducing a marketplace to provide high-stack services on top of their infrastructure services. A number of us believe that as infrastructure becomes ever-more commoditized, it will be through providing services at higher levels of the stack that vendors maintain their profitability. This move hasn’t gone unnoticed by smaller players and StandingCloud (more on them here), an application management provider has also created its own marketplace.
The StandingCloud marketplace boasts of over 100 applications with pre-configured integrations and the ability to brand them consistently. The move is a logical one for StandingCloud who is focused on delivering an application layer for cloud service providers, ISVs and technology solutions providers, that makes application deployment, management and distribution easier for their customers. In terms of execution, StandingCloud is using a scripted deployment methodology rather than virtual appliance images – this should reduce costs and lessen the image library management that service providers are required to wrangle.
As traditional service providers (telcos etc) look to find ways to continue revenue streams in the face of diminishing returns from traditional sources, the provision of integrated suites of solutions for end customers presents a good opportunity for ongoing revenue. To date most initiative have been around offering infrastructure services to their existing customers however increasingly they will find it difficult to differentiate in a very busy IaaS space. Moving up the stack provides two areas for differentiation – firstly it gives them the opportunity to offer a consistent end to end service (infra, apps, branding etc) and secondly it answers the pain points of end users around deployment and integration of those applications.
As service providers look to partner with technology providers who can offer them a solution that allows them to compete with vendors like AWS, offerings such as this one from StandingCloud make sense. In fact I was involved a few years ago with a consulting engagement that looked to deliver this sort of integrated application offering to an existing customer base for a large carrier. That project became watered down, in part because the technical hurdles of creating that sort of offering from scratch was outside the time and capital constraints of the project – had a solution like that offered by StandingCloud existed back then, I suspect that the project may have gotten off the ground.
The fact that the entire product can be customized to a service provider’s own branding is another tick in favor of StandingCloud as an option. Of course completeness of offering doesn’t always translate into uptake and it will be interesting to see what the response to this offering is from Service Providers.