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iland is a perfect example of a company that is evolving during these cloudy
times. The Houston-based company’s roots are that of a traditional hosting
firm, with five data centers in the United
States and one in London.
But the company has turned its attention to the cloud, positioning itself as
the behind-the-scenes data center infrastructure that MSPs and other solution
providers use to provision cloud-based resources to their customers.

“The channel is feeling the waters around the cloud,” said Dante Orsini,
channel sales director at iland. “We want to take the cloud out of it so
partners can spend time understanding customer requirements.”

The company has developed a platform called Workforce Cloud that integrates
desktops, laptops and other devices with hosted servers, data and services. The
net effect is to enable secure desktop connections to hosted corporate data,
Orsini explained.

MSPs, which have been iland’s primary target with the platform, can use
Workforce Cloud to centrally manage their customers’ data and applications that
are residing in the cloud. It’s a great opportunity for virtualization
specialists, who will need to consult, to actively virtualize their customers
system up to iland’s cloud, where they can be provisioned on-demand.

Todd Knapp, founder and CEO at Envision,
gives iland high marks for retooling its business from physical colocation and
shared hosting to the virtual world. And that they did it by building a
platform from scratch.

“I think larger data center providers are not agile enough to react to the
market need to provision virtual cloud resources, but instead have offerings
that are bolt-ons to a traditional product set,” said Knapp, whose Rhode
Island-based company specializes in virtualization.

Knapp described the transition from physical to virtual as “hard” and even more
difficult for behemoth-sized hosting players such as SunGard and Rackspace.
“These are great companies, but how do you take an organization of that size
and retool the infrastructure quickly to facilitate cloud computing resources
and effective and low-cost disaster recovery?”

iland partners with the channel in two ways, Orsini said. There is an agent
model, where partners are paid for referring business to iLand, who then owns
the relationship with the customer. Secondly, there’s a reseller model in which
the partner or MSP can co-brand with iland or privately label.

Orsini says iland’s model gives partners a strong selling case to take to
customers, while freeing them up to focus on consulting services and other
high-margin activities.

“Our partners who have seen the value in this have been telling their
customers,” he said. “And the case they make is that the customer will get
best-in-class infrastructure that they never see and eliminate cap-ex.”