Top 6 Things You Need to Know Before Beginning Your APS App A GlowTouch Technologies Industry Insight

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1 Top 6 Things You Need to Know Before Beginning Your APS App A GlowTouch Technologies Industry Insight A GlowTouch Technologies Industry Insight 0

2 The Application Packaging Standard (APS) has rapidly emerged as a valuable tool for web hosting providers and independent software vendors (ISV) seeking to capitalize on the benefits of packaging SaaS applications and software products for sale to millions of web hosting customers. According to the APS website, APS is now the primary way to deliver applications for all Parallels products [including] Parallels Plesk Panel with 10k+ hosters [and] Parallels Automation with 160+ service providers reaching 90% of active sites worldwide hosted by service providers. A set of specifications and standardized technologies, APS was created in 2007 and introduced to the market by Parallels, a global leader in hosting and cloud services enablement and desktop virtualization. The packaging standard initially covered provisioning and management of simple web applications in shared hosting environments, but continues to be extended and enhanced to cover a wider variety of business applications, application licensing, integration, and more. Today, APS is a strategic enabler to deliver an array of services to businesses and consumers on a grand scale with a single click. As the APS standard continues to evolve alongside the industry, a fundamental understanding of the Parallels ecosystem and APS platform becomes paramount. As a certified Parallels APS System Integration (SI) partner, GlowTouch has capitalized on a decade worth of experience in the web hosting industry and deep technical expertise to identify six APS must-knows any business should carefully consider before beginning its APS initiative. A GlowTouch Technologies Industry Insight 1

3 1. How are web hosting providers and their customers different from other resellers and customers outside the industry? The web hosting industry operates in a unique, trust-based ecosystem where partnerships and alliances between companies are the norm. There is a certain level of credibility and trust between web hosting providers and their customers. These customers are typically more inclined to purchase services from trusted resources recommended by their hosting provider, as opposed to outsiders. This way of doing business makes it much easier to propagate an application within the web hosting community. The decision for a business not currently operating in the web hosting industry to venture into the space could prove valuable if properly executed. For starters, the sheer volume of businesses and opportunities that dwell in this sector is promising for any newcomer. Additionally, the various channels and markets within the industry are typically receptive to niche products, assuming they have applicable value. Lastly, the exposure to different verticals could be eye-opening for a business seeking to expand its product portfolio. Recognizing and understanding the relationship-based philosophy that pervades the web hosting industry can prove fruitful for businesses looking to extend their digital footprint. Partnering with a well-connected, experienced APS specialist is the first step in determining how to best capitalize on this booming market. Does your business application have tangible value for web hosts and their customers? Are you prepared to integrate into this trust-based ecosystem? Are you taking full advantage of a channel that provides exposure to millions of potential users? A GlowTouch Technologies Industry Insight 2

4 2. Parallels offers multiple platforms to promote your application or service. Which is which? And why does it matter? Businesses seeking to penetrate new markets and attract new customers can use the APS standard to package their web application as a cloud service aimed at users of today s leading web hosting panels. The more common domain of the two, Parallels Plesk Control Panel, is used daily by millions of web hosting customers, and millions more use its counterpart, Parallels Automation Panel, every day. Here are some important considerations for both respective marketplaces: Parallels Plesk Panel The Parallels Plesk Panel is the most complete panel solution for web hosting providers. With countless providers currently utilizing its integrated web design tools, SaaS storefront and fully automated billing and provisioning capabilities, the Plesk ecosystem continues to expand. The marketplace within Plesk is known as the Partner Storefront. Featuring hundreds of products, the Partner Storefront offers a diverse collection of applications that are installable within the hosting end-user environment, on the hosting provider s servers, offered as SaaS applications, or even as products that have little to do with the web hosting environment. Leveraging the Partner Storefront, web hosting providers can efficiently monetize their customers through the sale of commercial applications. Providers can offer their Panel customers a wide variety of applications, without development effort by partnering with Parallels and APS-certified system integrators in a revenue-share business model. A GlowTouch Technologies Industry Insight 3

5 The APS Business Model With more than 10 million subscribers, the revenue opportunities for software providers are boundless. By capitalizing on the domain expertise of certified Parallels APS SI specialists, these businesses can realize valuable revenue opportunities. Parallels Automation Panel Contrasting with Plesk, Parallels Automation (PA) allows hosting service providers to rapidly deliver large-scale shared hosting and cloud services. Equipped with powerful automation and virtualization, PA offers more control and functionality to the end user and the hosting providers. The limited number of service providers in this domain reflects the extensive level of complexity and integration involved with APS deployments in PA. These service providers are typically much larger, however, making the overall opportunity in this market staggering. The marketplace within PA, known as the Parallels Automation for Cloud Marketplace (PACM), is more expansive than the Partner Storefront. The product offerings in this marketplace are typically more dynamic applications, tightly integrated into the service provider s systems for billing and provisioning. This makes for a very unique opportunity, which many name brand application providers are quickly embracing. A GlowTouch Technologies Industry Insight 4

6 3. How do I know which versions of the various platforms I should support in APS? With multiple versions of both Plesk and PA in regular use, identifying how to properly configure and deploy your APS application is vital. While the majority of users are on the newest versions (Plesk 10.3 and 10.4 and PA 5.2 and 5.3), adoption can take time, and there are still a number of older installations - some supporting older APS standards - running today. Many software providers choose to implement different APS packages for different environments and versions, to ensure the best experience and functionality to the end users, while giving themselves more opportunities to attract new users. In addition to providing valuable consultative counsel, certified Parallels APS SI partners also possess an arsenal of development resources to efficiently integrate your business application and ensure compatibility with more versions of Plesk, PA or both. With deep experience helping businesses optimize their service offerings, these APS specialists can help your business properly position its application within the marketplace to ensure it aligns within the needs of the dynamic Parallels ecosystem. What s the difference between versions? How will that impact my APS integration and the features available to my new customers that sign up for my application through their hosting provider? A GlowTouch Technologies Industry Insight 5

7 4. What is KA and why do I care? Parallels Key Administrator (KA) integration is especially important for businesses seeking to target and capture revenue opportunities within the PA environment. With millions of subscribers today in KA-enabled environments, the ability to secure even a portion of that burgeoning market could prove incredibly profitable. KA is a comprehensive licensing system that allows Parallels to manage and seamlessly integrate its licensing and billing activities with that of software and SaaS providers, to create an automated recurring revenue stream that benefits hosting providers and software companies, and is simple and painless to end users. The reason KA is so beneficial to software and SaaS providers is because it gives them an easy way to license their products to end users. It drastically streamlines the sales process and allows for more responsive interaction, and all within the trusted environment of the end user s control panel. Internet service providers can expect to benefit from KA s package and deliver model which enables them to utilize a wide set of software applications, with minimal effort and zero installation costs, to provide added value to their customers. If you are a software provider, this is a key distinction to consider. Are you prepared to integrate with KA for maximum exposure of your product to the expansive Parallels audience? How do you formally receive the stamp of approval from Parallels and have your application featured within StoreFront and MarketPlace? Will a certified Parallels APS SI be able to help you navigate the challenges associated with this issue? A GlowTouch Technologies Industry Insight 6

8 5. How do upgrades and new product releases affect how I manage my APS application? In the world of software development, upgrades and version enhancements are as commonplace as development iterations. Almost as commonplace is the collection of technology laggards - users who choose not to upgrade to the latest software version. While there are resources and tools that enable companies to upgrade their own applications, these programs are limited in their capabilities. Certified APS SI s rely on their experience in the Parallels ecosystem and their intimate knowledge of the APS platform to optimize your business application, not just upgrade it. Effectively managing and upgrading your APS integration requires knowledge of the specific feature-set within the latest Plesk or PA version, and the technical expertise to adapt the integrated solution in a way that enhances performance and offers value to the end user. Arguably just as important as being able to optimize the business application in the latest version is the ability to do it quickly. In a fiercely competitive marketplace, being first-to-market could likely result in additional revenue, improved market share, and increased customer loyalty. Have you planned for the long term future of your application? Do you know what version your users derive the most value from? Employing proactive measures to guarantee your application continues to perform flawlessly regardless of version and your customers are satisfied is essential. A GlowTouch Technologies Industry Insight 7

9 6. Who can I rely on to support my APS initiative? A successful APS deployment requires everything from resources, technology, knowledge, personnel, and more. Securing a reliable, well-connected APS development resource could pay off with instant time and cost savings. That s precisely the reason that Parallels has chosen to partner with just a few, trusted technology providers and subjected them to rigorous training and certification to ensure they re fully immersed in the inner-workings of the Parallels ecosystem and the APS platform. This network of official certified Parallels APS System Integrators is designed to help service providers and application vendors seamlessly package and deliver their offerings into the cloud. These SI s can make it remarkably easy for you to enable, promote, sell and profit from using the APS standard. GlowTouch is one such certified Parallels APS SI who leverages extensive web hosting industry experience and a wealth of technology expertise to help companies smoothly navigate the APS development process. Easily the most accessible APS SI, GlowTouch draws from a deep and talented resource pool to provide its customers with unmatched quality and responsiveness. With locations around the globe, GlowTouch leverages a hybrid resource model designed to provide customers with the optimal combination of cost-savings and customer service. A long-standing Parallels partner, GlowTouch relies on its intimate knowledge of the Parallels ecosystem and proficiency with emerging technology platforms to help companies like yours cloud-enable their business applications. Deploying a dedicated and highly-trained development team, GlowTouch offers endto-end product support for your APS initiative, including everything from development, deployment, enhancement, maintenance, optimization, and more. GlowTouch is ready to help you through the process, so engage us today and enjoy the benefits of APS integration in the Parallels ecosystem. To learn more about how GlowTouch can provide APS SI services smarter, faster, and easier, visit A GlowTouch Technologies Industry Insight 8

10 About GlowTouch Technologies GlowTouch Technologies is an award-winning IT services company delivering custom technology services to businesses of all sizes. The company s suite of technology services includes application and software development, technical support services and website development. With more than 850 employees and growing, GlowTouch has been recognized by Inc. Magazine on the Inc. 500/5000 list of America s Fastest- Growing Private Companies for three consecutive years. To learn more about GlowTouch, visit About Parallels Parallels is a worldwide leader in virtualization and automation software that optimizes computing for consumers, businesses, and service providers across all major hardware, operating system, and virtualization platforms. Founded in 1999, Parallels is a fast-growing company with 800 employees in North America, Europe, and Asia. To learn more about Parallels, visit About APS The APS standard is a set of specifications that covers provisioning, management and integration of cloud-based services and applications. APS covers the full service life cycle of applications and was designed from the ground up to address requirements of Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud computing paradigms, such as full automation and role-based access control. To learn more about the APS Standard, visit A GlowTouch Technologies Industry Insight 9

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