IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Multicloud Mania and the Channel’s New Role

A revenue opportunity awaits for partners that can help customers deploy, manage, and upgrade multiple-cloud services. By Mariah West

AFTER YEARS OF HYBRID CLOUD ADOPTION, many organizations have developed a new appetite for multicloud computing and the decentralized cloud computing model that comes with it. 

When the industry began adopting cloud computing on a large scale, using a single vendor or provider helped drive efficiencies around issues like pricing, maintenance, and support. Over the years, however, organizations began to realize that a one-size-fits-all cloud strategy was no longer sustainable, nor would a single provider be able to meet their requirements. 

Diverse workloads and multiple IT security regulations began driving a need for specialized cloud computing solutions. A hybrid environment of storage and computing resources on and off premises was simply not flexible enough to keep up with varying application and storage demands. Plus, it became apparent that these organizations could vie for a better deal if they shopped around to create their own unique portfolio of cloud solutions. 

Adopting a multicloud strategy grants organizations the flexibility to run their workloads where they perform best. They can maintain legacy applications in their original settings without having to migrate to a new platform. And they can avoid vendor lock-ins to go after the best deal or most reliable platform.  

This type of flexibility is the driving force behind rapid multicloud adoption. According to a recent RightScale cloud survey, 81 percent of enterprises have a multicloud strategy. IDC research recently cited similar findings in the U.S., and reported that 40 percent of European organizations are stretching applications across multiple clouds.

Simplification Is Key

Despite its benefits and high adoption, multicloud can be successful only if cloud service providers (CSPs) and the channel can come together to simplify a complex and diverse environment of cloud solutions. Managing multiple clouds requires great skill and understanding of each platform, which if ignored can expose organizations to significant risks.  

Work is needed to improve availability and performance, increase redundancy, and reduce risks.  This area is where the channel plays a vital role. Partners adept at finding the best qualities of each cloud can make the deployment, management, and upgrade of cloud services easier and more effective. Their experience in supporting the connection between on premises and off premises in a hybrid cloud model qualifies them to lead this transition.  

Without this insight and counsel, organizations will find themselves building a collection of cloud solutions across departmental lines. Shadow IT can creep into the picture as any department head with a credit card can launch a new cloud solution to address a project. And as those projects are completed, an unmonitored subscription could go on charging the organization for months before detection. 

The next step in this evolution is to understand how applications interact and integrate purely in public cloud environments, allowing for the free movement of applications and data between them. If channel partners can master that, then they are set to unlock a whole new route to revenue. 

But to be successful, channel pros need to partner with software vendors that can help facilitate this seamless mobility by providing orchestration tools that support the provisioning and deployment of multiple-cloud environments.   

Integrated management and analytics capabilities also allow CSPs to have a centralized overview of their end users’ environments, which in turn can help standardize workflows and provide added layers of security.

Working together, channel partners and orchestration tool vendors can help customers avoid the common pitfalls of a multicloud strategy by building solutions that address complexity, security, and cost controls. 

MARIAH WEST is the director of global partner marketing at Zerto, where she is responsible for driving global partner programs for both Zerto's channel and service provider ecosystems. Her team delivers innovative programs, training, and go-to-market resources to grow Zerto's channel business and empower partners in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

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