Parallels, the hosting and cloud services enablement provider announced a major enhancement to the Application Packaging Standard (APS) including a number of new products at their annual Parallels Summit 2013, last month. Parallels has developed the open APS program, a technology standard, that gives ISVs a consistent way to package and syndicate their offerings for sale through the service provider channel. It can be applied to hundreds of commercial applications ranging from WordPress to Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, and VMware Zimbra, which are already packaged and certified under the APS standard.
The firm claims that the APS 2.0 now includes a pluggable single sign-on (SSO), service bus architecture, and customizable user interface enabling service providers to offer differentiated bundles of cloud services with an easy purchase and activation experience. This will allow Parallels service provider customers/partners access to cloud-based services that they can offer to their end user customers.
Service providers prefer to automate the services by way of common single sign-on between the various services a customer may have purchased. However, there are many applications in reality and the end-user customers face the challenge of accessing them from a single-access window with reliability. As Parallels shifted the focus of its service provider business toward integrated automation and service delivery platforms for the cloud, customers and partners have demanded for a more reliable, secure platform through which they could access to hundreds of applications and services. With this major update to the APS 2.0, driven by the feedback that users have given, Parallel has addressed customer's big problem - access management across different applications to users with single sign-on.
The solution that Parallels chose was single sign-on from CertiVox, an authentication provider. The CertiVox/Parallels integration will enable the Parallels partners and end-users to log on and authenticate themselves using the SkyPin, a two-factor authentication solution from CertiVox. Service providers will use SkyPin to authenticate themselves in Parallels software for configuring service options and managing the storefronts and applications they deliver to their end customers.
With the improvement to APS 2.0, IDC is of the opinion that this is very important improvement from a customer perspective as they always look for a simple, secure, flexible and scalable solution. In the age of increasing IT security regulations, the use of SSO technologies allows organizations to enforce access control policies across multiple applications. It also positions Parallels to showcase its secure platform capability, laying the groundwork for a larger role in the emerging cloud services landscape, given the anticipated growth of cloud-based infrastructure and application solutions.
At the same time, service providers can also resell the authentication services to their hosting customers, to capitalize on the exploding demand for strong authentication across the verticals, thus can do more business.
APS 2.0 will be integrated in Parallels Automation 5.5, which is expected to ship later this year, and will include more than 30 back-office improvements and new services such as support for Microsoft Lync 2013 Hosting Pack. Parallels ability to deliver single sign-on for the APS providing customers with one consistent platform for infrastructure, applications, and data management cloud environments has a significant boost with several product launches including Parallels Automation 5.5 and Parallels Cloud Storage. As a result, Parallels partners and service provider customers will have the opportunity to more quickly and cost-effectively design, deploy, and implement complex, hybrid cloud environments. It also helps Parallels to competitively position as a one-stop cloud enablement source for service providers and channel partners to tap growing SMB cloud market.