08/01/2014  |  by Parallels
Categories:  Service Automation

Leading hosting company Hostway uses Parallels Automation and APS to give resellers a turnkey cloud services solution including their own syndicated IaaS platform

Business Summary

Founded in 1998, Hostway is a leading infrastructure and hosting provider with a global customer base of over 500,000 customers. The company’s core service portfolio features managed hosting, email and application hosting, and scalable cloud hosting.

In addition to direct sales, Hostway’s cloud infrastructure is used to support a large network of resellers and distribution partners. All told, more than fifty million end users rely on the company’s infrastructure.

Hostway combines a focus on services for small and medium businesses with a commitment to supporting its reseller network.

Business Challenge

Hostway’s high service standards and attractive Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) products formed the foundation of a growing network of resellers and delivery partners. Their partners required an efficient and cost-effective way to launch their own cloud services.

“Hostway has a long and successful history serving large resellers, including Tier 1 broadband service providers throughout North America,” says Todd Benjamin, Vice President of Hosted Services at Hostway. “These partners have very specific requirements, and have a diverse customer base with needs that often require customized solutions. We needed a way to add standardized reseller solutions that allow us to onboard new distribution partners quickly and cost-effectively.”

With a clear goal in mind, Hostway compared the benefits of taking an in-house approach to development versus leveraging an existing platform.

“For us, it was a straightforward build-buy decision,” Benjamin added. “We knew from experience what kind of functionality we needed to serve our target markets, and we could either produce it internally or externally. We also knew we needed a solution designed to address the needs of our partners and customers as they evolve their cloud services, including the complexities of a multi-tier channel ecosystem. Weighing the existing demands on our internal development resources, we decided to look for an external solution that could meet our requirements.”

The Solution

Early on, Hostway saw the advantages of APS (the Application Packaging Standard), an elegant solution for bringing third-party services to market through Parallels Automation.

“APS gave us a connector reference architecture and the supporting ecosystem to reach a whole network of Parallels Automation partners,” Benjamin said. “We could vet packages internally, so we could be confident they would work well, and outsource development to established APS developers, decreasing time-to-market and preserving our valuable internal resources.”

“With Parallels Automation, we could do two great things. First, we could use our APS packages among our own resellers, onboarding new partners in record time,” Benjamin said. “Second, we APS-enabled our own IaaS public cloud and application offerings and have made them available to the entire ecosystem of existing Parallels Automation service providers. So we could syndicate services to other partners, and syndicate to ourselves so that resellers without Parallels Automation could benefit.”

After multiple conversations with Parallels and support from Parallels Professional Services to design and deploy the platform, Hostway was able to go from contract signing to having the service in-market in just six months.

“We had no in-house expertise specifically with Parallels Automation,” adds Benjamin. “As a result, the knowledge we received from Parallels Professional Services was critical to the correct planning, implementation and validation of the platform.”

The finished Parallels Automation implementation supports multiple reseller classes, all with pre-configured templates to onboard resellers efficiently. The process is so simple it is routinely carried out by non-technical personnel. More complex requirements can be accommodated using the existing platform, tools and APIs.

The Results

Today, Hostway’s new Parallels Automation implementation helps the company extend its reach and deliver world-class services to a variety of resellers. Specifically, Hostway can now reach an existing network of Parallels Automation partners with a turnkey solution, provide customized instances as required, and use the same platform to help its resellers succeed in the cloud services marketplace.

“Our Parallels Automation instance makes onboarding new customers quicker and more efficient,” Benjamin said. “We can now deliver the benefits of Parallels Automation to resellers, without the capex, administrative personnel, and time-to- market costs associated with implementing their own instance. Our pre-packaged, turnkey solution lets resellers offer cloud services to their own end-user customers, getting them in business in record time with a branded customer experience and all the tools they need to succeed.”

In addition, Parallels Automation and APS have allowed Hostway to continue building a pipeline of distribution partners, which according to Benjamin “would not have been possible without this powerful tool in our belt.”