By integrating the provisioning and management of related cloud services into their colo customer portal, Internap makes provisioning cloud services as part of your hosted infrastructure a relatively simple process. The cloud services it makes available simply become another deployable service that can be set up and managed from the management portal that will eventually be deployed to all of its colocation customers.
When a company decides to make the choice that colocation is a good addition or replacement for their datacenter operations, they become dependent on their provider's interface to their hardware to manage and monitor their datacenter operations. This means that the provider portal becomes an important part of the day-to-day operations management of the colo customers' IT staff. So the quality of the portal interface and the capabilities for monitoring and management become critical to the success of a colo datacenter customer.
What this has meant to the user is that colo providers have been working hard to allow customers more than just the ability to monitor their equipment. The cutting edge of the business allows deep drill-down into what is going on with the customer equipment and the datacenter infrastructure, along with the ability to control servers, racks, and related equipment in a seamlessly integrated remote solution. Internap is looking to provide a value add for its customers (and a methodology for selling them additional services) by giving the customer the ability to do on-demand provisioning not just of traditional datacenter workloads or equipment, but also cloud service components, allowing for the creation of hybrid colo/cloud configurations.
The cloud provisioning is just another option to the customer that works, from their prospective, the same as the other provisioning capabilities that the portal provides. This process fits in very well with the cloud service model; the customer has the opportunity to expand the capabilities of their business without additional IT infrastructure investment by utilizing back-end cloud services mixed with their existing datacenter back end. The additional services become available to the users of the colo datacenter services in a transparent fashion; they are additional datacenter provided services, and the fact that they are cloud based is neither apparent to the end user nor even necessary for them to know. Management of these services occurs through the existing portal platform management tools, simplifying IT's role in managing the services.
This is one of the simplest ways to make cloud services an integral part of your IT operations. It doesn't relieve IT of the responsibility of selecting appropriate service providers, but is a step toward simplifying the integration of these services, especially for existing customers.