Loudcloud Inc. is due to release improvements to its user-facing portal next week that promise to shave significant time and expense from code updates to multiple Web servers.
The new myLoudcloud portal is part of the managed service providers efforts to differentiate itself in the increasingly commoditized MSP space. The company is also considering more drastic action such as licensing some of its 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 over secure links can deploy new code, 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 Distribution System tracks all the things its doing, so it can undo all the changes. For example, if a code push went bad for a six-server site, a rollback that would normally take 6 hours takes 10 minutes,” Vishria said.
One Loudcloud client working with the new release believes that it shaves 6 hours off an 8-hour shift in once-a-month code updates done in the middle of the night. It saves money because its not labor-intensive on my staff to shepherd through a code deployment,” according to Greg Pacholski, president and formerly chief technology officer at StatementOne Inc. in Lawrenceville, N.J. “It reduces risk because it works.”
The new system also addresses one of the biggest problem areas managed services customers deal with–change management, according to Corey Ferengul, vice president at Meta Group Inc. in Chicago. “Commodity players havent focused on this level of capability,” he said.
Along with the new myLoudcloud portal release, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company is looking at other ways to “extend” its business model and move away from competing with the large, commodity managed services providers such as Digex Inc. or Cable & Wireless plc.
One move under consideration is to license some of the technology it created for its managed services business. But such a move is fraught with peril. “If I were their competitor, Id ask whether they are a service or a product company,” said Ferengul.
Still, Loudcloud has already begun to move down that path. The company already allows customers to run its Opsware software behind their own firewalls, according to Pacholski. It and the Code Distribution System “would be attractive to large companies,” he said.
The new release of myLoudcloud also adds enhanced visibility into the performance of Oracle Corp.s and Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server databases, online customer documentation, and the ability to group reports according to business units. It is available now.
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