Among the cloud giants, Amazon Web Services (AWS) continues to maintain the bulk of the mindshare among businesses. Along with Google, AWS was the No. 2 threat to hosters, just behind "price wars." In reality, recent measures taken by Amazon show them reaching out to the hosting industry; instead of focusing on competing, Amazon is trying to co-opt smaller hosters to resell Amazon's services.
While this shift in thinking may take some time, the co-opetition with AWS is healthy and also forces SMB hosters to take an introverted look at the way in which they intend to grow and retain profitability for survival. Perhaps competing with Amazon works; perhaps reselling Amazon is the better strategy. Either way, the important part is to focus and execute on the core competencies of the hoster.
Competing in today's industry can be challenging, and retaining "swagger" when competing with giants requires a shift in thinking. The winners will effectively launch differentiated services on top of reselling IaaS, such as AWS, or will need to gear up and elevate themselves to the professional leagues.
As the cloud grows up and makes itself a viable enterprise-class option, smart hosters will need to upgrade various systems to keep up -- such as security and billing, as well as introducing automation as a part of daily workflow and rapid provisioning. Enterprise and service provider cloud management requirements will become more complex and perforce sophisticated, which in turn will require a new set of management and monitoring tools, purpose-built with these advanced requirements in mind, including automation, analytics and the ability to scale rapidly and efficiently.
The old systems management tools just won't cut it. As the cloud matures, the opportunities will expand, and SMB hosters should educate themselves on the options since an investment for any successful strategy is going to be necessary. The good news -- the options are more affordable than ever, which is a good sign for the entire ecosystem.
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