What are the challenges you have observed in the AWS space?
The first challenge is getting to AWS—most customers do not understand AWS because the products and services offered are entirely different from those in on-premise environments. On-premise environments have virtual machines. However, AWS calls their compute EC2 for example. So it is often the case that customers cannot comprehend how everything works together. Another is pricing—customers usually get in trouble when they try to understand the costing aspect because AWS prices data and usage very differently since its pricing is based upon consumption. The second challenge customers face is migrating data and getting the products within the AWS framework to work together. They need to manage VPS gateways, archival storage, and security keys. To help with the complexity, we build out a ‘Cloud Center of Excellence’ for our clients. This helps customers with post-migration issues such as: how to operate within the cloud, how to request resources; how to design, implement, cost it, maintain it and optimize it.
How does eCloud address these challenges?
Amazon issues 1000+ updates each year to enhance their products and services, which makes it a challenge for everybody; whether it is premier partners or customers maintaining their own environment. We find our niche in helping customers on specific problems and issues that they have, whether it is around big data, security, and integration. We can become more nimble than the big guys; I think we are a lot more cost effective than the big four that are charging much more an hour for a less experienced resource. We are more competitive on price. Customers want things done quickly, and we typically meet their time-frame versus some of our other competitors.
We find our niche in helping customers on the more specific problems and issues that they have, whether it is around big data, security and integration
Tell us a little about the migration process.
We are a one-stop-shop—we help discover the environment, application stack dependency mapping, health check, comprehensive pricing estimation of monthly consumption, and ability to POC your applications in the target cloud environment, allowing us to have actual data prior to the commitment to that target platform. We can help a customer get the connectivity they need in a data center or a direct connect from AWS or Azure and manage that circuit along with assisting them with next-generation security solutions. Because of our agnostic approach, we can design, implement and optimize these environments on behalf of the customer.
We sign the Business Associate Agreement (BAA) on behalf of the customer. We will sign up for the security parameters, compliance and honestly the risk that is associated with a provider signing the BAA on behalf of the customer. We offer flexible contracts because we believe that any deal that you have with a particular cloud provider should be as pay-as-you-go. If you decide to leave AWS tomorrow, you can just shut the environment down and walk away from your managed services agreement.
Why should you be tied to your cloud contract when you are not going to use it?
Please provide a case study that highlights the usability of your solution?
Aliera Healthcare came to us when they were building an application because they needed somewhere to house it. When we looked at the differences between AWS and Azure, AWS came to us asking for the contract. They helped fund the account as well as reduced the cost for this customer to move over to AWS. Our expertise and partnership with AWS further helped cut costs. The solution had to be compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). So, we had to ensure that the environment could pass any compliance security audits and healthcare audits; which meant that the situation had to be appropriately set up from the ground up.
What support do you offer post-implementation?
It takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days for implementation, depending on the size of the environment. We have round the clock monitoring and management, with live engineer support. If we see something abnormal from a particular device or application, we start investigating to remediate the problem before it becomes an issue.
What does the future look like for eCloud?
We did not have much of a relationship before we got to the advanced AWS tier. Once we got there, we made that commitment to AWS from an engineering, customer, and revenue standpoint. They started investing in us, and it has been a great relationship since then. We are going to be expanding into New York, Chicago and Dallas in the next 6-12 months. By then, we will have our Azure Gold achievement as well as AWS Premier level achievement.