Articles / Clash of the Clouds

Clash of the Clouds


Published: 2016-11-22

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Moving towards the Public Cloud: our main topic during the CloudBilling seminar held in October at Microsoft. In the run-up to this seminar we held a small questionnaire amongst Cloud Service Providers.

The results showed that in general the opinion and strategy was: Public, unless… Meaning that the service providers, who were traditionally focused on delivering infrastructure solutions in their own domain, are now shifting the delivery of their services into the Public Cloud. We have read and heard bold statements that large Dutch service providers will be fully public in 5 years’ time.

5 years? In cloud terms that’s moving at snail’s pace. The so-called Private Cloud Providers are still making money, due to healthy margins as well as the negative opinion of end customers concerning safety and privacy of cloud services. However, this will be solved the coming period as well. I do see technology providers moving very fast, delivering solutions via which governance, security regulations and rules are enforced across all the public clouds.

Hybrid Cloud

Inevitably there will be a move to the Public Cloud. The buzzword now is hybrid. I call that testing the waters: reluctance in really adopting the Public Cloud. Of course I understand the sentiment behind this. It is more or less the same sentiment when back in the days end customers wanted a server under their desk. So they could see for themselves the lights flickering on the server. Well… nothing is as conservative as a traditional service provider. The not invented heresyndrome…?

The move to the Public Cloud is where the Clash of the Clouds will happen. At every event we are being presented with amazing growth figures of the cloud. Growth in cloud is imminent. Amazon and Microsoft are currently the most dominant providers in this market. They conquer the reseller and partner world by storm. Microsoft is leading that battle with their CSP Program, a very smart and balanced program for IT partners. However, in the widely envisioned growth of the Public Cloud there is room for more.

The Race for the Reseller

Look at it from the perspective of the IT provider or reseller. For most of them the cloud is a new phenomenon. Making Microsoft’s CSP Program quite a safe bet for these companies. The market trusts the program and the organisation around this program and the people leading this program. In The Netherlands, Microsoft CSP and Azure are the dominant Public Cloud services. So who will follow?

Here is where the Clash of Clouds will occur. Maybe a better title would have been The Race for the Reseller. Public Cloud providers see the opportunity and are now drawing their weapons to get their partners sell their Public Cloud services. Oracle, Google, AWS, IBM, Huawei and many more are building and marketing their Public Cloud services towards the IT channel. Who will win?

And the winner is…

This is hard to predict. However, I would like to point one potential winner already in this upcoming clash: VMware. And they will win by NOT pushing their own Public Cloud, but by offering connections to AWS and Azure. They see the hybrid battle as a difficult battle to win. As the famous saying goes “If you can’t beat them, join them”. The art of war? The art of API I would rather say! With their large install base in the service provider market they are on the verge of really benefitting from the hybrid move.

In this clash, resellers and partners have a challenge. Do they really need more than one public provider? I am going to throw in another saying: “One is none”. When it comes to it, I reckon you would want a choice in such an essential part of your solutions. And after you have made your choice for the Public Cloud that’s when the real “fun” starts! How will you choose the right provider? And by choosing a set-up with more than one cloud provider or source, how converge them into your solutions, delivery and so on…. never a dull moment when it comes to the Cloud. We have an interesting Cloud time ahead of us!

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