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Cloud Self-service: Have It Your Way

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February 20, 2014
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In this country, we like to “do it ourselves.”  We prefer self-service check outs to waiting in line for a cashier at the grocery store.  We flock to the self-service salad bars and ice cream stations at local restaurants to dish up our own culinary masterpieces. We like customizing our own vacations by choosing our hotels, air travel arrangements and sightseeing options online and on our own.

The Cisco® Customer Experience Report even noted that 61% of global consumers would be open to shopping at a fully automated “self-service” store with vending machines and kiosk stations offering a virtual customer service.

We’ve taken the concept of self service to work as well. Employee self-service solutions are fast gaining ground with portals that allow employees to view pay slips, apply for jobs and manage their health insurance choices and 401K plans.

So it’s no surprise that businesses like the concept of self-service for cloud computing.  Cloud self-service allows users to set up and launch applications and services in the cloud on their own.  They can get what they want, when they want, the way they want.

In fact, in its definition of the cloud, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST), notes that one of the five essential characteristics of the cloud is on-demand self-service. A user can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, including computing power, storage, and network services, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider. Capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly to meet changing demands.

Self-service in the cloud offers numerous benefits, ranging from cost reduction and transparency to faster execution of customer demands and enhanced user experience. It can work in various ways. Cloud self-service can take place over the Internet using web applications or services provided by a third-party provider partnering with the CSP. Or, a CSP may have its own back-end system for self-provisioning. In some companies, IT will set up a dedicated portal that allows business unit leaders and end users to request cloud resources to run their applications.

Many of these portals are paired with service catalogs, which list applications available for self-provisioning that sanctioned by the organization’s IT department. IT can set up specific back-end policies to automatically assign compute, storage and network resources to support these applications, along with security and performance settings.

However, not all clouds are self-service. Nor do they need to be.  But for businesses that want speed and simplicity in their cloud services, self-service is a must.

So is there anything that differentiates clouds that offer self-service?  For the most part, all will employ their own versions of user portals and offer similar capabilities. However, there are a few that stand out, including Peak 10.

In the Peak 10 Enterprise Cloud, the self-service portal offers visibility into resource commitments and availability, with the ability to free up resource utilization with automatic recommendations based on historical usage (right sizing).  The combined information provides a clear picture of actual performance of the systems, and enables companies to optimize their IT resources and budget. Numerous reports on performance and other metrics can be generated as well.

Combined with the tailoring Peak 10 already does to make sure the cloud solutions it provides its customers best meet their needs, this right-sizing capability makes the Peak 10 Enterprise Cloud a great option for businesses want cloud services delivered their way ─ and with the information to make sure that their way is the most efficient, economical way.

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest