Loudcloud Inc. last week released improvements to its user-facing portal that promise to shave significant time and expense from code updates to multiple Web servers.
The upgraded MyLoudcloud portal is part of the MSPs (management service providers) efforts to differentiate itself in the increasingly commoditized MSP space. The company is also considering more drastic action such as licensing proprietary technology.
MyLoudcloud 3.0 adds the ability to automate Web application server software updates across secured, remote links, allowing customers to accelerate the process and to eliminate potential human error.
The updated portal provides remote access to the Loudcloud Code Deployment System, which in turn gives remote access to automated change management capabilities. Customers can deploy new code over secure links, do on-demand backups and roll back code changes to previous working versions across multiple servers, according to Eric Vishria, lead project manager at Loudcloud, in Sunnyvale, Calif.
"The Code Deployment System tracks all the things its doing, so it can undo all the changes," Vishria said. "For example, if a code push went bad for a six-server site, a rollback that would normally take 6 hours takes 10 minutes."
One Loudcloud client working with the new release believes it shaves 6 hours off an 8-hour shift in once-a-month code updates done in the middle of the night, according to Greg Pacholski, president and former chief technology officer at StatementOne Inc., in Lawrenceville, N.J. "It saves money because its not labor-intensive on my staff to shepherd through a code deployment," Pacholski said. "It reduces risk because it works."
The new system also addresses one of the biggest problem areas that managed services customers deal with—change management, according to Corey Ferengul, an analyst at Meta Group Inc., in Chicago.
Along with the new MyLoudcloud portal release, Loudcloud is looking at other ways to extend its business model and move away from competing with large commodity MSPs such as Digex Inc. and Cable and Wireless plc.
One move under consideration by Loudcloud is to license some of the technology it created for its managed services business.
The new release of MyLoudcloud adds enhanced visibility into the performance of Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp. SQL Server databases, online customer documentation, and the ability to group reports according to business units. It is available now.