Service providers push value envelope

Service providers push value envelope

The MSP (managed services provider) market was buzzing with activity on Monday as Loudcloud, Cervalis, and Inforonics introduced new services designed to complement growing customer satisfaction demands.

Loudcloud said it aims to remove frustration and manual labor associated with Web site change management through the release of an upgraded version of its CDS (Code Deployment System).

Integrated with customer portal, CDS 2.0 incorporates stronger security and on-demand back-up and restore of "safe code" feature to correct any change management errors, said Tim Howes, CTO of Loudcloud.

Cervalis announced on Monday the availability of its hot standby site services. According to Zack Margolis, vice president of marketing and business development at Cervalis, the fully managed service enables customers to have an exact duplicate configuration of their IT operations that can be activated in case of an emergency or problem. The mirror site will be housed in Cervalis' data center.

Lastly, Inforonics unveiled its new Managed Services business unit. The unit provides application management, technical support, and hosting support modules for customers to run their Web site operations, said Sam Rizzico, executive vice president of the MSP.

As MSPs thrive amid a services market typically dominated by large industry and professional services giants, they are emphasizing high-class customer service and stressing sensitivity to customer preferences, said Bill Martorelli, vice president of e-services and sourcing solutions at The Hurwitz Group.

"It is a major trend we're seeing. [Loudcloud and Cervalis] are two companies that are niche suppliers in a good way, with potential for greater flexibility," said Martorelli. "That's one of the traditional criticisms [around quality] that dogs some of the bigger players, [such as] IBM. It's much easier to be consistently good when you have a small base."

Howes said Loudcloud CDS 2.0 features an "incremental update" function that can ascertain the difference between code currently running on a site and changes that are being pushed to speed up deployment time.

Also, the upgrade's extensible framework, running on Loudcloud's automated Opsware platform, lets users customize code deployment, move necessary files before change management occurs, and authenticate who can provide code.

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