Cloud service providers are realizing that growing their market share in a highly competitive market with the abundance of service providers is certainly challenging. One way the cloud operators can differentiate their cloud is by delivering additional cloud and IT services such as hosted windows apps and desktops and hosted Microsoft applications. This will also enable cloud service providers to reduce churn and increase customer stickiness. Cloud service providers can also increase their profitability through the diversification of their cloud business model by reselling white-label versions of their cloud service offerings through channel partners.  Today, Citrix took another big step towards enabling cloud service providers achieve these goals with the general availability release of CloudPortal Business Manager 2.3!

CloudPortal Business Manager 2.3 enables cloud service providers to implement more profitable cloud business models and services through enhanced support for channel partner capabilities and a broader portfolio of Microsoft applications.

What is CloudPortal Business Manager?

CloudPortal Business Manager is a unified cloud services delivery and business management platform that unifies and simplifies the delivery, operational, commerce and user management aspects of a cloud. Organizations can aggregate infrastructure, cloud, IT and value-add services and deliver them to users through a simple, self-service catalog of cloud services. Users can shop for cloud services, provision and manage these services in a self-service manner.

Beyond service delivery, CloudPortal Business Manager centralizes the user management, provisioning and operational aspects of running a cloud into a single, comprehensive cloud business platform. CloudPortal Business Manager includes powerful tools to automate provisioning and orchestration workflows along with customer service functions such as onboarding, billing and metering to more efficiently run your cloud.

The extensible architecture makes it easy to deliver a broad array of cloud services, while integrating with existing business, operations and IT systems such as help desks, ticketing, payment gateways, CRM and billing systems. Custom business rules and workflow requirements can easily be injected for service interactions such as account activation and provisioning requests to ensure business processes and technical requirements are met.

What’s new in CloudPortal Business Manager 2.3?

CloudPortal Business Manager 2.3 adds several new features and enhancements that enable customers to implement more profitable cloud business models and services.

Enhanced support for cloud service reseller business model – The CloudPortal Business Manager 2.3 release enables cloud service providers to resell their cloud services to channel partners with enhanced channel-specific branding.

With CloudPortal Business Manager 2.3, a Cloud Service Provider’s channel partners can now leverage their own branding assets such as channel-specific CSS, Logo, Favicon and content templates. These branding assets can be used to brand CloudPortal Business Manager interface when resolved using a channel-specific FQDN.

The channel-specific capabilities also allow channel partners to specify blacklisted/whitelisted email domains and countries, and mark the channel as open/closed for self-registration.

CloudPortal Business Manager 2.3 also provides channel level usage and spend aggregation capabilities and allows for generating usage and spend reports at the channel level.

This enhancement allows cloud service providers to resell white-label versions of their cloud service offerings through channel partners and increase profitability through the diversification of cloud business models.

Expanded support for Microsoft applications: Lync, SharePoint – CloudPortal Business Manager 2.2 release included integration with CloudPortal Services Manager using the CloudPortal Business Manager connector architecture. This integration has been enhanced with CloudPortal Business Manager 2.3 release to support Microsoft Lync and SharePoint. As a result this integration now provides the following advantages to service providers:

  • A single pane-of-glass to provision Microsoft Lync and SharePoint in addition to hosted applications, desktops and hosted Microsoft Exchange, delivered by CloudPortal Services Manager in addition to a broad array of cloud services currently delivered by CloudPortal Business Manager.
  • A unified billing solution for all services delivered by CloudPortal Business Manager and CloudPortal Services Manager.

This integration provides several benefits to Service Providers by allowing them to:

  • Differentiate their cloud and increase customer stickiness by delivering multiple cloud services from a single platform
  • Improve user experience with a streamlined interface to provision and manage hosted applications, desktops and a broad array of cloud services
  • Simplify billing operations with unified billing for CloudPortal Business Manager and Services Manager
  • Improve operational efficiency with a simplified workflow to create & manage customer accounts and their subscriptions
  • Improve visibility and control with a unified dashboard for service status and key metrics

Upgrade path – A simple upgrade process allows customers to move from a previous version of CloudPortal directly to CloudPortal Business Manager 2.3 without any intermediary steps:  CloudPortal 1.4.3 – 1.4.7 to CloudPortal 2.3 and CloudPortal 2.1.0-2.1.1 and 2.2.0-2.2.1 to 2.3.

In addition Citrix CloudPlatform Business Manager will continue to support these key features.

Cloud Services Catalog  Create a custom catalog of services including IaaS, cloud, value-add and IT services that are delivered to users through a simple, self-service catalog.

Citrix and Partner Connectors – CloudPortal Business Manager 2.3 makes it easier for IT to transform into a service broker with 3rd party connectors from partners such as Appcara, ActiveState, Caringo, Cloudian, Cloudsoft, CumuLogic and others.  CloudPortal Business Manager 2.3 also includes reference connectors for Apache CloudStack and the OpenStack connector has been updated to be compatible with OpenStack Icehouse release. CloudPortal Business Manager continues to support deeper integrations with Citrix products using the connectors to Citrix CloudPlatform and CloudPortal Services Manager.

Where can I learn more about CloudPortal Business Manager?

As a next step, I encourage everyone to: