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Getting Ready for Cloud Computing

Setting Your Strategy

expect worldwide cloud service revenues to reach $149 billion by 2014. n Analysts at Gartner Inc. IT That Works (www.functiononeit.ittw.com) I Understanding the Cloud Opportunity Though cloud computing accounts for a relatively small share of IT outlays at present. Faster ROI: Thanks to those lower up-front investments. And here’s the best part: As an MSP.S. Surveying Your Options Adopting a cloud computing strategy would be significantly easier if cloud computing itself was easier to define. for example. Ignoring cloud computing. Cloud computing offers businesses a host of significant benefits. Choosing a go-to-market strategy is the first key step every IT provider must take on their road to the cloud. managing director. is not a viable long-term option for anyone who makes their living managing servers. rather. That revenue is going to go away. rising to $44. Unfortunately. For VARs and managed service providers. then. and you’re familiar with recurring monthly pricing. that means now is the time to begin preparing to compete and win in the cloud computing marketplace. and applications. Over the next few years. desktops. however.ndustry experts agree: Cloud computing is growing fast and here to stay. you know how to support infrastructures remotely.com) n Joe Nardone. The smart move.” JOe MaRkeRT FunctionOne .teamedl. supplement your existing income with lucrative new revenue streams. Expert Data Labs LLC (www. and steal a march on your competition. position yourself for future success in a changing IT marketplace. n Between 2010 and 2014. … We all need to be aware of that.net) n Joe Markert. cloud-based solutions generally pay off more quickly than on-premise systems. Flexibility and scalability: Most cloud solutions give end users the freedom to scale their environment up or down swiftly as their business requirements change. alone by 2013. FunctionOne (www. That enables companies to avoid the high up-front costs typically associated with new solutions while also converting IT from a capital expense into an operational one. president/CEO. Making the jump to cloud computing will definitely entail acquiring new capabilities. you have experience with service contracts and SLAs. according to technology research firm AMI-Partners Inc. No matter how wary of cloud computing your clients may be today. it’s slowly but steadily becoming a significant new market. SMBs in the United States and elsewhere will steadily shift an increasing portion of their technology spending from on-premise services and hardware to solutions hosted in the cloud. Consider. Cloud Computing Service Models At a high level. This white paper guides you through some of the critical issues to consider and questions to ask. most cloud services can be divided into three categories: Software as a service (SaaS): Hosted remotely and consumed via the Internet. SaaS solutions enable organizations to run everything from email to line-of-business applications “We’re running into a situation where more and more of what we used to deploy on site is now shifting to the cloud. Such bold predictions aren’t hard to explain. these facts: n Analyst firm IDC expects cloud services to outpace spending on traditional IT services over the next several years. Reduced downtime: Cloud solutions leverage virtualization and other advanced technologies to achieve high levels of availability. you already have most of the skills you’ll need to succeed in the cloud. advantages like these will eventually persuade most if not all of them to move a sizeable portion of their on-site IT resources into the cloud. After all. is to get started in cloud computing now. usage-based fees. CEO. “cloud computing” is a catch-all term for a range of different services that can be delivered in a variety of different ways. spending by SMBs globally on cloud services will rise at a compound annual growth rate of 13 percent to more than $95 billion. so there’s less for us to manage. drawing on insights from these experienced cloud computing veterans: n Bob Breitman.2 billion in the U. but probably not as many as you think. including these: Pay-as-you-go pricing: Most cloud service providers charge their clients recurring.

… The MSP of the future will be the guy who knows how to find that balance. n “Private” cloud solutions employ the same basic technologies and protocols as public ones. where it’s potentially vulnerable to intrusion if the vendor is lax about security.” BOB BReITMaN IT That Works without buying. As a result. Making Your Choice As you work through the process of deciding which cloud service and deployment models to support. Hosting your own services. private clouds are often an easier sale. Private clouds give businesses complete control over their data and its location. gives you more control over what you offer. they also leave you and your customers at the mercy of a third party’s technical support team if something goes wrong. vendors of public cloud solutions generally pay their resellers significantly lower margins than most MSPs are accustomed to earning. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): Available from providers such as Amazon and Rackspace as well as many smaller firms. and Salesforce. however. Reselling a vendor’s service spares you the expense of building and administering your own infrastructure. Private cloud solutions. PaaS solutions offer cloud-based infrastructure resources. private clouds offer more opportunity for customization. and general on-premise stuff. storage space. by contrast. Operational control: Though public cloud solutions free you from the burdens of hardware maintenance. and other sensitive information in a third-party vendor’s data center. so friction over account ownership is a rarity.” JOe MaRkeRT FunctionOne . availability: Public cloud solutions are delivered over the Web. these important considerations in mind: Profit potential: Though there are no hard and fast rules in the matter.“We think any right solution ought to be a mixture of public cloud. give you greater control over pricing and hence profits. many public cloud service providers maintain multiple facilities. be sure to keep “The private cloud is a perfect next step to capitalize on what we’ve already been doing for the last few years: optimizing infrastructure through virtualization. so there’s significantly less chance of connectivity-related downtime.com are all popular SaaS offerings. however. Moreover. Unlike IaaS solutions. so they’re only as reliable as a user’s Internet connection. which tend to be highly commoditized. Platform as a service (PaaS): Like IaaS solutions. It’s nearly impossible to know which of those facilities contains a specific customer’s data—and therefore which local regulatory requirements and privacy laws govern the storage of that data—at any given time. host. Microsoft Windows Azure and Google App Engine are two of the best-known PaaS options. some of which are overseas. There is no one solution. Private clouds require more administration but also empower you to take prompt and direct action when problems arise. Google Apps. deploying. Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (soon to be renamed Microsoft Office 365). or maintaining costly server hardware. and how you price it. since they don’t require business owners to give up control over their data or suffer lost productivity during an Internet outage. account ownership: Some providers of public cloud solutions insist on handling matters such as billing directly. Cloud Computing Deployment Models There are basically two ways to deliver cloud services to your customers: n “Public” cloud solutions reside in off-site data centers and are delivered via the Internet. potentially weakening resellers’ customer relationships. private cloud. and scale applications rapidly. Salability: Concerns over the security and reliability of public cloud solutions are common among SMBs at present. and other computing resources on demand. IaaS solutions deliver processing power. Security: Public cloud solutions require end users to store their customer files. reducing security concerns and legal exposures. Unlike public cloud solutions. It’s a balance. how you offer it. but run on privately owned or leased servers that sit behind a corporate firewall. Private cloud solutions typically don’t involve a third party vendor. PaaS systems also include programming tools that provide developers a complete environment in which to create. Private cloud solutions operate over a client’s local-area or wide-area network. VARs and MSPs can either resell services that are hosted by a third party or host services themselves in dedicated or leased data centers. sales records.

your brand. Acumen Management Group Ltd. Online Marketing. One Williamsburg Place. cloud computing will represent either a massive opportunity or an equally massive threat to today’s MSPs. “In a traditional environment it’s hard to control what your customers do to their hardware. Atypical Business ken Thoreson: President. depending largely on decisions they make today. Symbits Ilene Rosoff: President & CEO. Those that embrace the cloud early and look for ways to profit from it will position themselves for continued success in the SMB technology marketplace. and your client relationships. arlin Sorensen: CEO/Partner. and then seek out partners you can rely on and trust. Autotask Corp. Jamison West: CEO. your new cloud venture could end up diluting the brand equity you’ve worked so hard to accrue with your clients. so cloud-based business continuity solutions can be a great first offering. Kutenda. Warrendale. ChannelPro-SMB Michael Siggins: Editor and Publisher. The Launch Pad Inc. EMS for MSP companies Mark Crall: Executive Director of Community and Business Development.” JOe NaRDONe Expert Data Labs LLC n Choosing Your Partners Success in cloud computing hinges on establishing the right partnerships. will they contact your customers? Who will handle billing and offer first-line help desk support? n How strong are they financially? Partnering with firms whose future is uncertain can be a risky move. it’s much easier to control that. which actually makes management easier too. as your customers slowly become more comfortable with cloud computing. ChannelPro-SMB Written by Rich Freeman on behalf of ChannelPro-SMB MSPtv Studios. especially if many of your clients still rely on tape-based backups. With a private cloud. SMBs often find the economic benefits of cloudbased email and collaboration systems easy to understand as well. Those that stick to doing business as usual will gradually become less and less relevant to their clients. Randy knutson: President. Kutenda Mike Cooch: President. ask the following questions of potential partners before signing any agreements: n Do they offer a white label option allowing you to attach your own name and logo to their service? If not. PA 15086 . you can gradually introduce them to other. n Under what conditions. Doing so will take time and effort. MSP Roundtable Group Brett Beveridge: Founder & CEO. Fortunately. so be sure to do your homework before selecting vendors. Heartland Technology Solutions Pat Taylor: President.Focusing initially on services with strong and immediate appeal to customers can also make selling cloud offerings easier. more sophisticated services. Over time. most businesses appreciate the importance of safeguarding their data. if any. Evaluate your service and delivery options. Symbits kevin Brown: VP of Partner Development. look for solutions that will protect your margins. making your move to the cloud needn’t be as painful a process as you may fear. JWCS Cecilia Galvin: Executive Editor. n Do the guarantees in their SLA meet your expectations and those of your clients? n What kind of data center architecture and management practices do they employ? How stable is their infrastructure? Does it have enough redundancy? How solid is their security? When was the last time their security was audited? Do they have a SAS 70 or ISO/IEC 27000 series certification validating their use of rigorous security processes? Conclusion In the years ahead. but the sooner you get started the sooner you’ll turn the cloud from a cause for anxiety to an engine of growth. In particular. For example. SEO.