Federated Edge lets participating MSPs use space in data centres of MSPs outside their own region, to allow them to accept business that they previously had to decline because they had no ability to service it.
Today, enterprise storage and compute-as-a-service provider Zadara is announcing a new Federated Edge Program for MSPs. Federated Edge essentially pools the data centre space of their members, with Zadara managing everything, handling the payments, and defining the SLAs. The idea is it will allow MSPs to serve new clients in areas where they do not have a data centre, or serve other offices of existing clients in those same kinds of locations.
“We have been selling storage and now compute as a service to MSPs with a hosting environment, and they pay us, and their customers pay them,” said Nelson Nahum, Zadara’s CEO. “We have hundreds of locations with many MSPs with pretty much an identical product, and all these locations look the same. Until now, MSPs have only been able to serve customers from their existing data centres. If they get a request for something in a different place, they must say no or rent a rack somewhere else. Usually, they have to say no.”
Making it possible to say yes in these situations is what the Federated Edge is all about.
“Federated Edge provides a marketplace, where if they need capacity in a different location, the MSP can go to our console and provision in another data centre that is not theirs,” Nahun said. “They can now go anywhere where another member of the federated edge is, with everything all combined into a pool anyone can use. We are in charge of the SLAs, and we pay MSPs for use of the third-party facilities. By joining the Federated Edge, they will be able to go global and dramatically expand their footprint.”
Nahum said that Federated Edge provides MSP partners with the ability to expand anywhere.
“The larger the Federated Edge becomes, the more opportunities there will be for everyone involved,” he stated. “We have an MSP in the Philippines. They have multinational customers there who have offices in the U.S. They haven’t been able to sell into the U.S, now, but they will be able to with the Federated Edge.”
Similarly, companies in the U.S. will be able to use those facilities in the Philippines to service customers in that market.
“We expect that will include both new customers, and branches of existing multinational customers,” Nahum said.
Putting the Federated Edge together required some architectural reworking on Zadara’s part.
“The first thing we did we build the marketplace or e-commerce side that allows anyone to deploy anywhere,” Nahum said. “The second thing was the billing process and how we pay others. We needed to modify our internal billing process to do this, and this required the development of a fair bit of technology.”
For the Federated Edge to be effective, it needs a significant number of MSPs to participate. Nahum doesn’t expect this to be an issue at all.
“We have been talking about building it internally, and with our MSPs, for more than a year,” he said. “The reaction has been WOW! They get it – every single one of them. So we soft-launched it and the reaction from existing MSPs was so good that we already have a significant number in the Federated Edge cloud. Now we are going public with it.”
Zadara has always been fairly select in its channel partnering strategy, preferring close relationships with a smaller number of partners rather than a larger channel. The MSP channel is somewhat different from traditional solution providers however, and more importantly, the success of the Federated Edge really requires more MSP partners beyond the approximately 300 that Zadara has today.
“We want to significantly increase that number,” Nahum stated. “We have a target goal of having 1000 locations worldwide. We want an MSP in every city in the world, to serve edge workloads there. That doesn’t mean we will necessarily go from 300 MSP partners to 1000. Some MSPs have multiple locations. We will still be selective in the partners we add.”
Looking ahead, Nahum said that the roadmap will feature more explicit features around specifically optimizing edge deployments.
“The whole marketplace has merit without the edge, but we can do a really good job of attracting edge workloads that need low latency with it,” he noted. “We will also develop more technology specifically around edge workloads.”