Getting clients to use cloud computing applications and services can be easy -- as long as you are able to demonstrate the cost savings and value of cloud-based computing. In this podcast, expert Greg Schulz explains why it is important to help your clients understand the difference between public and private clouds and to teach them about the various cloud products and services in the market. Schulz also answers frequently asked questions about developing a solid cloud computing strategy, enhancing your existing service offerings and winning new business.
Read Greg Schulz' answers to other frequently asked questions on cloud computing opportunities.
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• What technologies can solutions providers use with cloud
• How can solutions providers encourage their current clients to use cloud computing services and applications?
• Does offering cloud computing services eliminate the need for channel pros to sell hardware, software and other services to their traditional customer base?
• What should solutions providers include in their cloud computing strategy? • More on cloud computing services opportunities
• About the expert
The list for technologies and services that solutions providers can provide as cloud services includes servers, storage, I/O and data networking, bandwidth services, monitoring and reporting tools, correlation and other end-to-end management tools. In other words, you can provide pretty much the same technologies in the cloud that you already provide to your customers on premise.
How can solutions providers encourage their current clients to use cloud computing services and applications?
Solutions providers can help clients understand the different types of cloud services and, most importantly, help them find the ones that best fit their needs. The key is to help customers identify if they even need a cloud-based service. If so, VARs can help clients determine what business issue or requirement the service can address. By taking these steps, solutions providers are also helping clients meet their specific business goals.
Solutions providers can work with clients to determine whether a public or private cloud is appropriate for what they are looking to do. Also, it's a good idea to help clients understand what the tradeoffs are. For example, are costs being deferred or shifted at the expense of availability and quality of service? how do the tradeoffs affect their business?
VARs can work with clients to help them understand the pros and cons of cloud services and teach them how to protect their data to ensure continued access when a cloud provider goes offline. The bottom line is that cloud services are just another tier of IT resources. Solutions providers should treat them accordingly and follow best practices and recommended management techniques.
Those cloud providers that are operating on tight budgets and in cost-avoidance models are most likely already using low-cost or commodity sources. Unless you have ample time to try and convert them to a value-add model, your time may be more productive working with cloud providers that will yield a better return on your investment -- that investment being time and people resources that lead to new sales.
Look for opportunities to "sell up and sell out." Go deeper into your existing accounts and technologies and at the same time branch out to new technologies with new customer bases. That will extend your footprint and increase your presence in the market.
What should solutions providers include in their cloud computing strategy?
On one front, they must have the hardware and software necessary to support those who are exploring cloud, SaaS and other managed services. On another front, they should provide the hardware or software that can be used for deploying highly virtualized and optimized IT or Web services environments and that are efficient in terms of productivity of services and that cost-effectively support large numbers of users.
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Greg Schulz is founder of The StorageIO Group, an IT consulting firm. He has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant and capacity planner for various IT organizations and also for several vendors before joining an analyst firm and later forming StorageIO. In addition, Schulz is a prolific writer, blogger and speaker who regularly appears at conferences and other events around the world. He is the author of The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier). Learn more at www.storageio.com or on twitter @storageio.
This was first published in July 2009