Taking the easy way out isn't necessarily a bad thing. Developing a cloud services strategy isn't easy, and sometimes service providers or nascent cloud providers need a little help getting started. On-demand cloud services -- or white-labeled cloud services -- can offer an easy way for new providers to get into the cloud services market quickly with the backing of a larger cloud provider or IT service provider.
More large cloud and IT service providers are white labeling their offerings because they know that not every provider looking to make a move to the cloud has the resources to build its own cloud data center. New cloud providers are taking advantage of established, third-party cloud platforms and environments as a way to not only move to the cloud, but also get there quickly.
Service integrators, providers look to on-demand cloud services model
Building or establishing cloud offerings based on another provider's technology has its benefits, said Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp.
"The on-demand cloud service or white-labeling strategy really addresses the cloud food chain," Nolle said. Large companies that rely on the cloud -- such as NetFlix and Twitter -- had to start by using a third-party cloud environment before they moved to a private cloud and eventually to their own data center, he added.
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IT service provider Dimension Data PLC recently launched a global cloud partner program that will allow service providers -- as well as such potential customers as educational institutions and government agencies -- to get their cloud services on the market quickly.
The program uses Dimension Data's global Managed Cloud Platforms -- hardware- and software-based managed cloud delivery platforms -- that allow the provider to offer IT compute services to clients as a service and on demand, said Jere Brown, CEO for Dimension Data Americas.
The program also will provide emerging cloud providers and customers with sales and marketing enablement services, Brown said. Program participants essentially will be taking advantage of a white-labeled version of Dimension Data's architecture while branding these new cloud services as their own. "[Providers and customers] will be able to get their own offerings to the market faster, while minimizing their investments," he said.
On-demand cloud services: A helping hand for new cloud providers?
White labeling cloud services is a popular practice for larger providers and service integrators looking to gain deeper penetration with their offerings in the cloud market, and smaller providers and partners are taking advantage, said Sam Barnett, directing analyst of data center and cloud for Campbell, Calif.-based Infonetics Research Inc.
Many providers will find the speed of on-demand cloud services appealing, but they must also consider brand-awareness, Barnett said. "[Cloud providers] tend to want to build their own cloud and build their own brand, but this could be an interesting approach for up-and-coming cloud providers in getting their services out there," he said, noting that white labeling services can present a way for some providers to gain customers quickly.
While brand awareness is important, different ways to sell the cloud are emerging at this stage in adoption, CIMI's Nolle said, noting Microsoft's recent move to white label Azure and allow partners to brand it as their own services. Just as end customers want to purchase cloud services, some providers are looking to buy into cloud infrastructure or services on which to build their own services, he said.
White-labeled cloud services are a great fit for a starter cloud provider. A program similar to Dimension Data's -- a fully managed platform hosted in the established provider's data center and backed by marketing and sales support -- will allow the provider to focus on the acceleration of cloud adoption, Infonetics' Barnett said.
While an end customer can reap the benefits of on-demand cloud services immediately, they are yet to be proven in the cloud provider market. Barnett believes that some cloud or service providers will take advantage of any business model that can help accelerate the deployment of its services.
"It's a model that makes sense," he noted. "If anything can accelerate a provider's ability to get a service to the market quickly, there will be a lot of interest in it."