Datacenters often found it difficult in having multiple systems to manage the offerings to its customers. Dependency over a decentralized chargeback or multiple silos of billing deployments will also make datacenters fail in terms of having a centralized view of its customers, offerings and revenue. This also constraints in offering cross selling services and bundled offers in terms of SaaS with IaaS services etc.
This brings up the importance of a centralized convergent billing and customer management and provisioning system which could effectively help datacenters in managing the orders, provisioning and billing of services across service types(cloud, hosting , colocation) , cloud models(IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) and technologies(VM platforms, Physical Resources). Catalog management also adds significant value from an ordering and billing perspective and provisioning interface to platform tools should be achieved interfacing with APIs of disparate systems.
Magnaquest flagship product SURE! offers datacenter providers with state of art provisioning, customer management and billing system which offers a centralized view of its customers, services and revenue generated. It also helps initiate provisioning of services across multiple platforms by interfacing with different VM management tools, element management systems. The solution provides option to define resources, services and bundled plans , implement complex pricing matrices and billing models in addition to roll out of cross service concessions, interfaces with legacy systems to collect usages to generate final bills. The system is PCI payment security standards compliant, which assure the datacenter providers and its customers with secure payment channel options.
High level functional features of SURE! include
- Ability to support both subscription based and usage based billing.
- Ability to accommodate colocation, hosting models along with cloud services to provide convergent bills
- Support complex customer and partner hierarchies .
- Provide end to end Order management capabilities for legacy cloud IaaS environments (EMS enabled ) where standard VM management tools are not available
- Preparation of quotes before entering into an agreement and managing multiple version of the same quotes.
- Multicurrency supports to cater customers from different geographies and countries
- Ability to define multiple catalogs across SaaS/PaaS applications & environment, IaaS resources like compute, storage, network, colocation and hosted services
- Ability in defining various discrete service elements as resources like software modules in a SaaS offering, CPU, OS, memory in computing environment, power, bandwidth ,SLAs , network card, firmware, anti-virus, storage discs, media files etc.
- Ability in bundling resources and group multiple bundles under a plan.
- Add on resource/add on plans to support provisioning additional resources viz. adding an SLA , adding managed service option to existing contracts /customers
- Fully functional provisioning module which allows automation of provisioning activity by coordinating between different pre-configured and customizable events, job agents and adapter components (eg Hibernate, start-stop services etc)
- Flexibility in terms of plans and services by which any resource can be delivered as a services viz. Storage can be provided along with a server or can be provisioned as separate service
- Cross service discounts
- Cross service concession across multiple resources within same service –Network concession based on storage within IaaS.
- Support for usage events at all cloud levels—IaaS, PaaS, SaaS
- Interface with different cloud management tools like VM cloud director , Virtual Machine Manager from Microsoft to capture usage events in real time or batch mode for Virtual environments
- Interface with EMS/NMS systems for physical resource (servers, network) usages where VM environments are not used.
- Correlation of resource usage from multiple system to map against specific customer account if required
- Real-time cloud event rating, where events can be rated based on following service related parameters but not limited to memory, storage, CPU, server types and similarly other time-based, data-based factors.
- Ability to support module wise subscription as well as usage charges within a single SaaS offering
- Shopping cart pre-integration which is tied to Payment Gateways
- Support partner management and settlement within the datacenter value chain where for e.g.: IaaS provider may bill the end customers of a SaaS service hosted within the datacenter. Here IaaS vendor may need to settle the revenue with SaaS provider as per the agreements.
- Support both SOAP and REST based web services to interface with the platform management systems/PaaS/SaaS platforms.