How fast VM provisioning help cloud providers boost their business
With most businesses moving online, customers started expecting their servers to be provisioned in a few minutes. That was when the demand for virtualization sky-rocketed, as it enabled creation of server instances in just a few clicks.
For big cloud service providers who offer server virtualization solutions, VM provisioning tasks form an integral part of their order processing activities.
What causes delay in VM provisioning?
While a minimal VM order provisioning involves just OS installation and IP allocation, many cloud providers now include all these tasks also, as a part of their VM deployment:
- OS and server software installations
- Resource allocation such as hard disk, IP, etc.
- Server hardening and service tuning
- Control panel installation and setup
- Configuring relevant application and record updates
A customer who purchases a VM for going online or hosting the sites would definitely be delighted to get a fully functional VM in hand, which can help him go live in no time.
But all these tasks are time consuming when performed manually, not to mention the time delay that is incurred in initiating the provisioning tasks. These can eventually lead to delays in VM order processing.
In cloud hosting industry, customers often leave for cloud providers who deliver VM instantly, than wait for hours to get their VMs delivered to them, as the latter can cause delays in their ‘time to market’.
There’s nothing that can damage your business than losing your hard earned customers to your competitors. If you’re a cloud provider struggling with delay in order provisioning, then its high time to act before it affects your client base.
[ You don’t have to lose your customers over delays in provisioning. Get our professional help to ensure a delightful hosting experience to your customers. ]
How we facilitate fast VM provisioning for cloud providers
Recently, we were contacted by a cloud service provider, who was struggling with customer attrition due to delays in the order processing, and wanted our assistance to get his business back on track.
In our role as support service providers for cloud owners, we have seen that there are two categories of delays that can incur in a VM provisioning process – 1. Time take for actual processing. 2. Time duration when the order is queued to get processed.
To ensure fast VM provisioning, we decided to focus on minimising the time spent in both these areas, and the solution was to automate the order processing with the help of VM templates and custom scripts.
A VM template contains a pre-configured OS and applications customized for different businesses such as web hosting, database servers, mail servers, etc.
We created templates for the different packages offered by the cloud provider. Say, a “Starter” cloud instance would have 10 GB of space, 1 CPU, 1 GB of memory, 10 Mbps bandwidth and a CentOS Linux pre-configured with a LAMP stack.
By making the templates optimized, secure, light-weight and readily available, based on the OS, resource needs, type of plan, etc., we were able to deploy new VMs in as low as 5 minutes.
To reduce the provisioning time even further, we created scripts to automate IP configuration, DNS configuration, backup configuration, etc., so that manual effort was minimized to just launching the scripts. This helped us complete overall in around 20 minutes.
Finally, we linked the billing portal with the virtualization system by configuring custom scripts using API, so that, when a new order was placed, a server with the selected applications and basic resource configuration was automatically created.
Our 24/7 expert server administrators monitor the order queue live, and add the relevant license keys and validate the order processing. This reduced the total provisioning time to 5 mins (during off peak hours).
[ Are your hosting solutions garnering enough business? Get expert assistance from our hosting support specialists to boost up your hosting business. ]
Automating the VM provisioning process using scripts helped us provision multiple VMs at once and in no time.This enabled the cloud provider to highlight ‘Instant provisioning’ as a key feature of his services and boost up his business in no time.
The templates are stored in a central repository and identified with labels and appropriate version numbers. Our 24/7 support team maintains the templates up-to-date with regular security patches and feature updates.
Bobcares helps cloud providers deliver quality services through custom configuration, quick provisioning, security patching and preventive maintenance of VMs. If you’d like to ensure instant order provisioning for your solutions, we would be happy to talk to you.
Bobcares provides Outsourced Hosting Support and Outsourced Server Management for online businesses. Our services include Hosting Support Services, server support, help desk support, live chat support and phone support.