MSPs Need More Than a VMware Alternative

By George Crump

While VMware’s increasing licensing costs and uncertainty about product direction are concerns, MSPs need more than just a VMware Alternative to remain competitive. MSP is a broad term that covers various business models ranging from providing IT services to customers who have on-premises hardware to providing infrastructure for customers to host their applications on. Still, they all need capabilities beyond those found in the enterprise versions of VMware vSphere.

Assuming the licensing cost is a universal issue, we will break down some unique requirements for each offer that a provider may deliver and how VergeIO can help. You can also register for today’s webinar, “A VMware Alternative Designed for MSPs and CSPs.”

IT as a Service Provider Requirements

There is a group of service providers who provide IT services to customers who have on-premises hardware. The service provider may also sell the customer the hardware and software, or they may take over the support of existing solutions. They may provide all the IT services or augment existing IT staff. These customers are likely complaining about the recent changes at VMware and are asking for an alternative. However, these MSPs need more than a VMware alternative that can just lower prices. They need a solution that makes supporting dozens or even hundreds of remote customers easier.

The customers of these providers are often small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with only two or three servers. These customers often have minimal, if any, space allocated to be a data center. Combining functions into a single “pod” helps conserve space, minimize the chance for error, and simplify remote administration.

They may also want a solution that enables them to move beyond IT as a Service. A logical next step for many IT as a Service providers is to offer Disaster Recovery as a Service. The problem is that when using legacy solutions, DRaaS is expensive, complex to configure, and hard to execute a recovery during a disaster.

VergeIO for IT as a Service Providers

VergeIO can assist IT service provider organizations in various ways. Firstly, VergeOS offers seamless migration from VMware to VergeOS. Secondly, in numerous instances, it can utilize their customers’ existing server hardware, making the transition to the new platform effortless.

Third, and specific to IT as a service provider, VergeOS includes an integrated site manager capability. There is no extra software to buy or virtual machines to set up. Site Manager connects to the remote sites in a mesh framework, so there is no single point of management failure. Administrators can remotely login to any provider’s customers quickly and manage the entire customer environment as if they were sitting there.

MSPs need more than a VMware Alternative

Fourth, VergeOS includes storage and network services within the core software. It eliminates the need for an external, dedicated storage array. It also provides firewall, routing, and other network services, eliminating the need for and cost of these appliances. Most businesses with small data centers can use VergeOS to meet all their infrastructure needs with two or three servers.

Fifth, VergeOS’ multi-tenant virtual data center (VDC) technology sets the stage for the provider to offer disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) capabilities. Providers can create one or multiple VDCs at their supported customer sites and then replicate those VDCs as a single object to the provider’s data center. With VDCs, it is easy to perform DR tests regularly, and successful recovery from a disaster is assured.

Infrastructure as a Service Provider Requirements

There is another group of MSPs that provide infrastructure as a service to their customers. These customers typically have little, if any, on-premises hardware and are using the provider’s data center, paying for physical resources periodically. License pricing is also a concern for these providers because it impacts the competitive pricing they can offer their customers. These MSPs also need more than a VMware alternative. First, they own the hardware, so they need infrastructure software to leverage commodity off-the-shelf hardware but outperform name-brand solutions.

These providers can also benefit from a more flexible VMware alternative. One that not only runs on existing hardware but also can mix different types of hardware so they can leverage the hardware for as long as possible. They also need an infrastructure software solution that enables them to scale quickly to onboard new customers and respond to unexpected demands from current customers.

These MSPs need more than a VMware Alternative because they are in the infrastructure business. An outage can impact dozens, if not hundreds, of customers. They need a solution that provides more than protection against a single point of failure. They need one that can provide multiple points of redundancy so that even if multiple drives or servers fail, customers do not experience extended outages.

They can benefit from having the same multi-tenancy features previously described above. Multi-tenancy enables them to share the same hardware across multiple customers while ensuring data isolation. It enables them to meet the unique needs of each customer without having to create hardware silos based on the use case.

VergeIO for Infrastructure as a Service Providers

These MSPs need more than a VMware alternative as well, and VergeIO delivers. The VergeOS software delivers greater efficiency than VMware. Using the same hardware, most customers report more than 25% better compute efficiency and storage performance. This efficiency breathes new life into the existing hardware investment, enabling the provider to support more customers without buying more hardware.

As these providers scale, they benefit from VergeOS’ hardware flexibility. They can add servers from different vendors, different generations of CPUs and different storage configurations, all within the same VergeOS instance. Our service-based licensing is particularly attractive for these providers, enabling them to expand using very dense, high CPU and core count server configurations without software licensing penalty.

MSPs need more than a VMware Alternative

For Infrastructure as a Service Providers, outages are particularly painful because of the number of customers they can impact. While most infrastructure software includes basic protection from hardware failure, resiliency is often limited to one or two drives or one or two servers. The software can automatically transition and load balance the movement of virtual machines to other nodes in the cluster to maintain the best possible performance profile. VergeOS extends beyond providing protection against a single point of failure to delivering multiple points of redundancy with ioGuardian. It provides real-time, inline data recovery even if multiple drives or servers fail. It is integrated into the product at no additional charge.

VergeOS’ snapshot technology, ioClone, protects against “soft errors” and user mistakes. Traditional snapshot technology works by manipulating inode or file allocation tables. This builds an interdependent series of pseudo-copies that don’t fulfill the requirements of the 3-2-1 rule of backup. ioClone uses VergeOS’ integrated global inline deduplication capabilities to take its snapshots. The result is an independent copy of data that takes a millisecond to create, consumes no additional capacity, can be retained indefinitely, and can be recovered instantly.

MSPs need more than a VMware Alternative

Finally, Infrastructure as a Service Providers can benefit significantly from VergeOS’ integrated multi-tenant virtual data centers (VDCs). For example, each customer can be placed in a unique VDC. Even though the hardware is shared between them, each VDC is isolated, and if something goes wrong in one, the other VDCs are secure. VDCs can also be nested. A customer could have a production environment and testing and development sub-VDCs. Each VDC can have a unique networking and storage configuration. Providers can also hard allocate specific hardware to specific tenants to meet the expectations of different customer service levels.

Conclusion

In a landscape where they face rising licensing costs and uncertainties about product direction, the reasons why MSPs need more than just a VMware alternative are clear. IT as a Service Providers and Infrastructure as a Service Providers have distinct requirements beyond basic hypervisor solutions. VergeIO emerges as a robust option that not only addresses these varied needs but also enhances service delivery and efficiency.

For IT as a Service Providers, VergeOS offers seamless migration from VMware, compatibility with existing hardware, and integrated management capabilities. These features simplify support for remote customers and pave the way for advanced services like DRaaS, making it a compelling choice for MSPs looking to expand their offerings while maintaining cost efficiency.

Infrastructure as a Service Providers benefit from VergeIO’s exceptional efficiency and flexibility. With improved compute and storage performance, hardware flexibility, and superior resilience through multiple points of redundancy, VergeOS ensures providers can deliver high availability and robust performance to their customers. The multi-tenant VDCs provide the necessary isolation and customization, enabling MSPs to cater to diverse customer needs without the complexity of siloed environments.

Ultimately, VergeIO delivers a comprehensive solution that supports the evolving demands of MSPs, helping them remain competitive in a challenging market. By offering more than just an alternative to VMware, VergeIO empowers providers to enhance their service capabilities, improve operational efficiency, and ensure customer satisfaction.

Next Steps

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