Cloud Changes Networking Channel

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The rapid adoption of cloud solutions will transform the traditional networking channel landscape in EMEA, according to a new study from International Data Corporation (IDC).

The analyst firm says the networking channel market in EMEA is a dynamic environment that is constantly evolving, fuelled by new technologies, changing customer demands, an alternate vendor landscape, and an uncertain economy. The “cloud concept,” which covers shared access to virtualized resources over the Internet while data and software are stored on servers, is becoming more important for organizations.

“The broad interest in cloud computing is understandable, considering that it enables IT organizations to become more cost-efficient and agile — for example, by centralizing their applications, servers, data, and storage resources, and dynamically moving their resources, or virtual machines,” said Sylvia Wünsche, research analyst, European Telecommunications and Networking, IDC.

With cloud adoption — private, public, or hybrid — significantly growing, we see that major vendors in EMEA are rolling out cloud enablement programs and initiatives for their channel partners where they can choose to act as cloud resellers, cloud builders, and cloud service providers — for example, Cisco’s Cloud Partner Program (CPP). Many vendors, including Cisco and HP Networking, further announced new or enhanced partner certifications (cloud architect certification) or specialization programs in 2011. We believe this trend will continue. The focus on partner competency is essential in a cloud economy, which is fueled by high customer requirements for skilled and experienced partners that can easily deploy cloud-based solutions in IT environments.

We believe the IT industry is going through a significant transformation. IT is increasingly being delivered as a service rather than in the form of capital expenditure on physical assets. Cloud computing fuels this and impacts the traditional channel landscape. Within the overall partner ecosystem we see new channel players such as cloud service aggregators (CSAs), including CloudBroker, evolving that gather services from multiple vendors and deliver them in a bundle to enterprises.
We also see service providers (SPs) well positioned to gain a significant share in the emerging cloud service value chain.

The role of (cloud) service providers will grow as these partners are high-volume consumers of infrastructure, technology development partners, and market influencers. The CSA model will further evolve and challenge distributors to align their offerings to remain competitive.