Channel Partners

FAL 2015

For 25 years, Channel Partners has been a resource for indirect sales channels, such as agents, VARs and dealers, that provide network-based communications and computing services, associated CPE and applications, and managed and professional services

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GOOGLE CLOUD: Mode 2 "complex" environ- ments want to "do IT like Google." Its strongest suit is an ever-expanding set of advanced technologies, many of which are very appealing to those with a taste for the bleeding edge. More often than not, these are technology-centered businesses. According to Gartner, Google "is still in the rudimentary stages of learning to engage with enterprise and midmarket customers, and needs to expand its sales, solutions engineering and support capabilities." It's probably not the choice for customers who just need simple IaaS, but technologically is an innovator. It's especially focused on databases and predictive data analysis, with no fewer than six such offerings under the Google Cloud Platform umbrella. The channel may be its Achilles heel: Not many IT or telecom providers take Google seriously as a partner. Still, it does have a reseller program and last year added channel tiers with personnel and revenue targets for the top two levels. It also has a dedicated Google Apps for Work reseller business and is making inroads in the education vertical with Chromebooks. IBM: IBM shut down its own SmartCloud Enterprise infrastructure services offering in January 2014 and moved all of its customers over to SoftLayer, which it had acquired the previous July. Consistent with its long tradition as a comprehensive provider of information technologies, IBM positions itself as the ideal resource no matter which way a customer wants to do cloud. Prefer to build your own private cloud infrastructure? IBM servers can do that. Want virtualized servers? IBM SoftLayer is your best choice. Need some bare-metal, non-virtualized servers on which you can do anything you want? IBM SoftLayer is your best bet. It badly wants to have the right answer every time. This is really an expansion of Microsoft's approach into the hardware world. IBM customers can range from those who simply need to run applications on a server in a managed data center to those who want to craft their entire solutions themselves using someone else's infrastructure, all while making connections as needed between various platforms. SoftLayer is an excellent platform for customers that prefer open source because it features OpenStack-based object storage. However, its current business model is primarily focused on what would be considered non-cloud services, such as hosting of dedicated servers and appliances. Given that IBM has owned SoftLayer for only a short time, we antici- pate seeing this shift in the near future. At the bottom line, IBM SoftLayer along with classic IBM core offerings provide "complex" Mode 2 customers with tremendous flexibility. With IBM leading a charge to create simpler services for the more fundamental customers, look forward to seeing more Mode 1 customers finding IBM offerings attractive in the future. Hundreds of smaller cloud providers build their services on top of these and other big networks. As we discuss in our cover story, "Cloud Risk: Hype vs. Reality," starting on Page 16, that means you need to understand what strengths and weaknesses customers will inherit. PLANNI NG YOUR PRESENTATIONS, PROPOSALS Selecting the right cloud begins with your evaluation of the customer. If their needs are fundamental, choose a provider whose strength is in solid reliability in fundamental delivery of applications. If your customer is looking for a fertile playground for new ideas, you have several options, culminating with the ultimate geek choice, Google. Beyond that, however, are some less obvious factors. Many of the customers you speak with today grew up in a world where "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM." Others are deeply invested in the Microsoft stack. Still others are opposed to Amazon or Google or others because of acquired attitudes that may or may not have any foundation in fact. With the Mode 1 client, you'll probably never have implementation or support concerns because they're being managed by the largest providers in the industry. With Mode 2 clients you'll need to be far more creative in identifying and vetting the right resources to get the job done right. Of course, there is the alternative of turning to smaller cloud providers, the ones relegated to Gartner's "niche players" as well as a bunch of cloud services providers that are even smaller and niche-ier — boutique shops that are very highly special- ized, and right in the crosshairs of IBM. Just remember that for cloud, small means far fewer support resources. That can become all too important at the worst possible time. Cloud is here — 85 percent of new soft- ware is being built to run on a cloud archi- tecture, according to IBM. Laggards will fall behind, so understand your customers and what they want to do, match them with a reliable provider whose offerings are consistent with their needs, and watch your cloud business rise. Howard M. Cohen has more than 30 years of IT channel executive experience and now consults, presents and writes extensively on IT topics including virtualization, infrastructure, cloud and management. He has written previously for VARBusiness, Redmond Channel Partner, eWeek, Microsoft, Citrix, Cisco, IBM, CA, Dell, Verisign, Ingram Micro and many top solution providers. Cohen has served on many key vendor partner councils including the Apple, HP, IBM and NEC Service Advisory Councils and the Ingram Micro Service Network board and has served as a U.S. Board member, National Communications Chair — and Eastern Regional Chair — of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners. linkedin.com/in/howardmcohen @howardmcohen .: Google at a Glance The Google Cloud Platform is an amalgamation of about 13 services, from App Engine (PaaS) and Compute Engine (IaaS) to a Container Engine for Docker. Google employs 500 information, application, and network security experts and its services comply with ISO 27001, SOC 2/3, and PCI DSS 3.0. The company recently reduced compute pricing by up to 30 percent and introduced a new class of VM for short-duration batch jobs that it says can cost 70 less than standard virtual machines. Also offers per-minute billing. It counts old-school Best Buy, Coca-Cola and Avaya as well as Web natives SnapChat, Khan Academy and Ubisoft among its customers. Google runs 14 highly efficient data centers across North and South America, Asia and Europe. .: IBM at a Glance IBM SoftLayer uses a standardized pod design in all its data centers; each pod can support up to 5,000 servers. IBM paid $2 billion for SoftLayer in 2013 and has since invested more than $9 billion in data center expansions, acquisitions, and PaaS development. The company's cloud marketplace includes more than 100 enterprise-class cloud innovators. 5.5 million client transactions are processed daily through IBM's public cloud. 80% of Fortune 500 companies use IBM's cloud capabilities. The company built 15 new data centers in 2014 and now has 40 total cloud data centers globally. 12 CHANNEL PARTNERS FALL 2015 FEATURE

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