How IT service providers can turn customers’ data into gold with ECS

With first-hand experience of building a services business, I know how tough it can be. You talk to your customers, and build or provide services to meet their needs. Often, however, you (the service provider) are seen as a “temporary short-term solution”– before either the customer gets their own solution up and running, or the need goes away. What you need is a way to turn these short-termist customer interactions into long-term, mutually profitable relationships.

Look at how giants like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure have built sustainable and growing public cloud service businesses. Obviously, having household-name brands was a good start. But I believe the key to their success was offering convenient, low-priced data storage.

This convenience and low cost attracts many customers to store data in the cloud – often initially planned as a short-term measure. But once a business has their data in this cloud ‘walled garden’, the provider can sell them all sorts of longer-term value-adding services based around that data – elastic cloud computing, big data analytics, deep archive, disaster recovery, content delivery networks, and so on.

As an IT service provider, you are in a great position to translate this proven business model to your own on-premise private cloud or value-added public cloud. Simpler, inexpensive storage equals more customer data – and more possibilities for providing all sorts of innovative new services built around that data. From specialized services for industry verticals – like financial services, healthcare, government and so on – to meeting specific customer needs as they arise in the future. EMC’s Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) is the perfect object storage infrastructure for service providers to provide these new services.

ECS Object Storage

Here’s one example of a service you can offer with ECS, to target a specific need for thousands of enterprise customers today. These organizations are using EMC Isilon as primary production storage infrastructure in their datacenters, typically running at around 80% storage utilization – which is fine. But on a busy day, the 20% free capacity could potentially be filled up very quickly – perhaps by someone uploading massive files of raw 4K video footage. Bad things can happen within a datacenter that is at max capacity – so how to avoid this situation? The new EMC Isilon CloudPools feature can be easily configured to overflow data to a cloud storage system – preventing the risks of a datacenter meltdown.

This is where a big new service provider opportunity arises. You can easily offer overflow cloud storage as a service to Isilon customers, and win valuable business. ATOS is now delivering exactly this kind of service in Germany using ECS – maintaining customers’ data sovereignty, and opening up new accounts for value-added services in the future.

‘Hadoop as a service’ is another new and up-coming opportunity. With built-in HDFS capabilities in ECS, you can provide Hadoop data protection and value-added in-place analytics without having to transfer data into separate Hadoop clusters. You can extend this service to Governance, IoT and machine learning based on the customer’s data in your datacenter.

Many more services can be provided with this single storage infrastructure built on top of ECS. As a highly scalable, multi-tenant, multi-protocol object storage system, ECS is the perfect platform for you to take your business to the next level.

ECS turns you into a ‘cloud alchemist’ with the potential to transform even the most everyday data into pure gold – new insights, new opportunities for customers, and innovations to change lives. You can offer a wide range of services at costs that are comparable with a public cloud, but with the peace of mind and quality of service that your customers expect from you, as their trusted advisor in the IT services sector.

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About the Author: Ashvin Naik