Variations on a Cloud Storage Theme in the ChannelBy Michael Vizard | Print
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EMC expands focus on the cloud via a channel that is wrestling with multiple cloud storage business models
Now that EMC has announced that it’s going to rely even more on the channel to push products and services for the cloud, a lot of solution providers are going to have to ask themselves what exactly is the best business model when it comes to storage in the cloud.
At the EMC World 2012 conference this week EMC launched an EMC VNXe 3150 storage system that will only be sold through the channel and provides 50 percent more performance and capacity per rack. The company also announced a variety of programs for cloud builders and providers, while at the same time giving partners the ability to brand EMC services as their own.
On the face of it these are about a channel centric an initiative as it gets in the cloud. Instead of building its own cloud, EMC is going to rely and promote cloud storage services built by its partners. It will be up to EMC partners to decide if they want to build their own cloud or resell cloud storage service created by another partner.
That, of course, is where things might get a little complicated. If a solution provider decides to resell cloud services managed by another EMC partner it may become difficult to determine who owns what customer account. For example, a lot of solution providers are going to uncomfortable introducing an EMC partner such as AT&T into their accounts.
More often than not, if a solution provider decides to resell a cloud service rather than build their own they are going to be looking for the most silent business partner they can find. As far as the end customer should know, the solution provider is delivering that storage service as part of a complete range of cloud services.
Steve Zivanic, vice president of marketing for Nirvanix, a provider of a managed cloud service, says that model is the reason that the Nirvanix cloud service is resonating with channel partners. According to Zivanic, solution providers, including IBM, are opting for Nirvanix because rather than having to invest a lot of capital in various EMC piece parts to construct a cloud service, the Nirvanix offering is a turnkey managed service that they can pay a flat fee to use.
There's a lot of nuance when it comes to anything that has to do with the channel in the cloud. There’s no doubt that solution providers want to keep their brand as front and center in front of the customer as possible. But at the same time, storage may not provide enough of a high value to invest in compared to other cloud technologies. As such, the better part of cloud valor may be to resell someone else’s cloud storage in order to free up capital to develop higher value cloud applications.
About the only really wrong move at this point is to not be in the cloud at all. Large amounts of data are already moving into the cloud, so when you think about it each passing day now represents terabytes of lost opportunity that solution providers can ill afford to ignore.