Mapping your Public Cloud

In this interview with Andy Wilson, Director of Channel Sales at Node4, he talks about the changing nature of Public Cloud and where the Channel should be looking to leverage their expertise to capture the opportunities.

Comms Business Magazine (CBM): Why are developers so important to the Public Cloud journey?

Andrew Wilson (AW): Developers are the people running towards public cloud and they’re moving in that direction because it enables a low-cost option – trying and breaking applications, switching consumption on and off, and paying by the hour. It provides agility in a world of developing applications, can be cheap to run, is instant and on demand.

The Amazon catalogue, for example, is as long as your arm and it really speaks to a developer’s brain. Rather than a team of people delivering an application within enterprise, departments are now able to benefit as it drives options that aren’t built around scaling resource and expenditure.

Open APIs provide the option for developers programming and accessing pre-scripted applications. It’s a time saver and is a playground for innovation. Large vendors, for example are driving development ops with the free apps that are made available, and they are encouraging innovation and collaboration.

Medium and large enterprises are also moving toward public cloud, but only as and where applications warrant or allow such a move – some applications and software are simply not cloud ready so cannot move. Certain public sector organisations are also going to cloud-only strategies, even to just one vendor e.g. Microsoft. Conversely, there is also evidence of some organisations moving back, having made the leap too soon!

CBM: Is Public Cloud cheaper?

AW: There is a misconception that public cloud is cheaper. However, if you picked up everything that you had “in house” and moved it, it would be more expensive. Moving data provides challenges and you will pay for that transfer. While there maybe agility and flexibility, controlling costs also needs to be a primary consideration.

The analogy we use compares the consumption of the public cloud to buying a car. For example, rather than agreeing a fixed fee with predictable costs before leaving the showroom, the public cloud is a little like driving away with a new car and being unsure what you will be billed for, with a charge applied for every single instance of use related to the vehicle and its features. Whether it be indicator usage, mileage, windscreen wipers or using your lights. The costs have the potential to add up and you have no idea what that final bill may be.

CBM: How can resellers take advantage of the opportunities?

AW: Hyperscalers will own the customers, so resellers are in danger. The opportunity lies in the transformation journey and being aware of the long tail, those opportunities that cannot move to the cloud and will still require support, transition or consultancy.

The customer is undergoing a complicated transformation that a lot of organisations have to go through, and cannot go through it all at once. The channel needs to fully understand where it can add value.

The best models will be based on specialisation, learning and education. They need to be aware of the long tail, understanding what software and hardware to be reliant on, so there is the opportunity to provide consultancy and value-add at the front end, e.g. how do you consume, build up and have disaster recovery?

Gone are the days of selling hardware. It’s about having one foot in the old world and one in the new, and knowing where they fit to add the value. Customers aren’t going to buy licenses; they will rent them. So, the challenge is, how does a reseller get themselves between the customer and “the rental” and then add value? The money will still be there, but the really, how do they add value?

The profits will be in understanding how to access and stitch together different components to fill a gap. Many industries will have a problem and the only solution will be a physical component which is connected to technology that they are not able to stitch together themselves. Power partners will package the right components together and offer the full package. They will be rewarded handsomely for their added value – particularly if they spot a niche and solve specific challenges for specific verticals.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine