apiculus is a multi-cloud multi-service monetisation and management platform for telcos and service providers provided by Indiqus Technologies.
apiculus works with Apache Cloudstack to facilitate infrastructure management. By combining a powerful cloud billing engine, ticketing/ITSM, support for 3rd party applications and services, and providing a re-brandable and intuitive user interface, apiculus helps drive 360-degree online customer engagement for service providers.
Who is apiculus for
apiculus is designed for small to medium cloud service providers who wish to extend the Apache Cloudstack’s technical capabilities into a customer engagement context and operate a high-performant cloud business.
The apiculus solution suite addresses the supply side by enabling telcos, data centres, managed service providers and small-to-medium cloud service providers to successfully operate a cloud business. For the demand side, i.e., the end customer, apiculus is a complete cloud management platform that enables them to set up a complete enterprise-grade cloud and manage their virtual infrastructure and IT needs.
apiculus can also be used by resellers to white-label service providers’ cloud offerings.
apiculus ships with all the features required to operate a cloud business. Built to work with Apache Cloudstack, apiculus builds a business context on top of physical and virtual infrastructure.
The features include:
- Subscriber Account Management – apiculus enables the complete capturing of customer/subscriber journeys, giving multiple modalities to manage the customer lifecycle. In addition to creating accounts on Apache Cloudstack, account management on apiculus keeps a complete track of the customers’ subscription records, payments, compliance, activities, invoices and much more. Subscriber management on apiculus includes:
- Onboarding – apiculus supports self-served as well as backend-served account creation. Additionally, by using a combination of on-screen helpers and communication, apiculus eases out the onboarding friction by pointing customers in the right direction at all times.
- Account Security – apiculus supports 2-factor authentication for signup as well as login, in addition to role-based access to technical, operational and financial actions.
- End of Lifecycle – apiculus allows service provider administrators to restrict, disable or terminate accounts based on various EoL criteria.
- Identity Records – apiculus enables a 360-degree view on subscriber identity records and gives a complete profile on customers’ subscriptions, transactions, activities, backend orders and other details.
- Inventory Management – one of the cornerstones of apiculus is a diverse multi-cloud multi-service marketplace using which, service providers can monetise their own cloud offerings as well as resell 3rd party offerings. Service providers can use apiculus to create a diverse portfolio using Apache Cloudstack’s compute, disk, network and system offerings. Additionally, apiculus also enables service providers to provide their customers with a single-window experience in the form of pluggable 3rd party apps and services. Salient features of inventory management on apiculus are:
- Multi-service – apiculus supports IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and any other XaaS (anything as a service) product/service to be monetised in a pay-as-you-go subscription model.
- Multi-cloud – in addition to owned cloud resources, apiculus allows service providers to also resell global public clouds (AWS, GCP, Azure) in their local geographies.
- Targeting – catalogues on apiculus can be targeted for specific customers, specific resource types, custom geographies, specific/multiple currencies and so on.
- Marketing – apiculus ships with the skeletal structure for creating price-based marketing efforts. This can be done by using custom catalogues, cash coupons or promotional discounts.
- Subscription Management – apiculus aims at transforming how traditional enterprises consume cloud resources by providing subscription models for XaaS resources. By using apiculus, service providers can extend Apache Cloudstack offerings as subscribable plans that their customers can use in a pay-as-you-go fashion. Subscriptions on apiculus can be managed and delivered in the form of the following features:
- Payment Plans – subscriptions can be defined as prepaid or postpaid.
- Entitlements and Trials – subscriptions can include monetary or usage entitlements for carrying out trials, or defining complex subscription plans.
- Subscription Modifications – subscriptions can be modified by upgrading or downgrading the underlying resource. Additionally, subscriptions can also be ‘stacked up’ for volume-based consumption and add-ons.
- Billing Management – apiculus ships with a powerful billing system that is geared towards cloud utilisation. Modelled around IaaS, PaaS and SaaS billing patterns, the apiculus billing system combines the flexibility of modern-day subscription billing and traditional enterprise delivery models using resellers and white-labels. apiculus billing comes with the following features:
- Billing Modes – service providers can choose between arrears and advanced billing modes for each plan or catalogue.
- Billing Frequencies – resources can have hourly, weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly billing options, essentially allowing fine-grained control over how service providers wish to deliver their services and how customers wish to consume them.
- Billing Durations – service providers can define the period for which to raise an invoice. This can be monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, yearly or anything custom.
- Quotas – apiculus brings support for quotas, underages, overages as well a credit limit-based billing.
- Invoicing – apiculus billing allows for the generation of monthly (or according to billing duration) invoices and account-level data records.
- Basic Financial Reporting – apiculus billing also supports basic financial reporting in the form of transactional records (online as well as offline/manually posted) and monthly account statements.
- Reseller and White-label Support – apiculus allows for reselling and upstream reporting for service provider partners.
- Support Management – apiculus extends the underlying OTRS functionalities to provide a thorough support and customer operations management module. Support management on apiculus includes the following features:
- Ticketing – subscribers can create tickets without leaving the apiculus platform interface and also tag them down to the exact resource. All tickets show up as conversational interfaces, thus giving the intuition and feel of fast-paced customer support.
- Activity Logs – support administrators can view detailed activity logs before escalating tickets to technical/L2 support.
- Impersonation – support agents can impersonate subscriber accounts (with their permission and via a one-time login) to deep-dive into cloud configurations and issue diagnostics.
- SLA Management – support teams can define and configure their SLA to the subscribers by using the OTRS administration backend.
- Cloud Operations Management – for the subscribers, apiculus acts as a single-touchpoint service management portal. Cloud operations may be performed on own infrastructure offered virtually by service providers (using Apache Cloudstack) or any 3rd party app or service that the provider wishes to offer. Under cloud operations, the following are supported:
- Provisioning/De-provisioning – subscribers can self-provision (or de-provision) resources from the marketplace to start using the resource. This works the same way for XaaS resources, be it the service providers’ own or from a 3rd party partner.
- Service Management – each provisioned resource type allows the subscriber to perform the most common operations from within the apiculus interface. For Cloudstack resources, apiculus acts as a UI wrap that relays all supported underlying actions. However, for resource types not owned by the service provider (e.g., multi-cloud, backup suite, DNS management etc.), apiculus allows subscribers to perform the most common actions from the apiculus platform interface. E.g., starting/stopping an AWS instance, or initiating a backup job, or creating DNS records, etc.
- Advanced Management – for all configurations and less-than-commonly used ‘advanced’ actions, apiculus provides token-based authentication to redirect to the vendor’s dashboard/portal.
- Monitoring – apiculus uses a combination of data from Apache Cloudstack, the underlying hypervisor and the Zabbix monitoring software to give relevant reports to subscribers as well as service providers.
- Custom Reports – in addition to out-of-the-box reporting, apiculus also supports custom reports, which can be configured during deployment at the service provider’s premises.
- Advanced Monitoring and Autoscale Extension – apiculus also ships with an advanced monitoring and autoscale execution suite that allows customers to create automation workflows on virtual machines. The following features are supported:
- Historical Virtual Machine Monitoring – while apiculus presents virtual machine utilisation graphs on the interface, the extension allows for multiple visualisations and date range selections. Customers can view utilisation as a 24-hour timescale or as daily aggregates over custom date ranges. Additionally, the extension also allows customers to download historical usage data as .csv files.
- Time-based Workflows & Schedules – the autoscale extension allows customers to configure time-based actions to be automated. Time schedules can be once, daily, weekly or monthly and are particularly useful when dealing with predictable spikes in traffic.
- Event-based Workflows & Autoscale – the autoscale extension also supports event-based automation in case of unpredictable workloads. Customers can define triggers on CPU and RAM utilisation and configure autoscale to execute up or down based on threshold breaches.