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Is Your Customer a Good Fit for a Private Cloud?

A private cloud is not for all SMBs, despite the obvious advantages. By learning to read the signals, you'll be able to determine which of your customers is a good fit. By Megan Santosus By ChannelPro

By Megan Santosus

Cost and availability on-demand are the most common benefits of a private cloud, and ones that most companies would welcome. Yet a private cloud is not for every SMB. Channel partners need to figure out which of their customers are the best candidates. After all, nothing is more likely to lead to frustration than selling a private cloud to a customer that doesn’t require one.

Jerod Powell, CEO and founder of InfinIT Consulting Inc., says there is no magic formula for determining which customers will benefit most from a private cloud, but there are a few characteristics that can signal where a private cloud may—or may not—be appropriate. “A private cloud is about providing on-demand solutions, so SMBs with distributed employees who in many cases already access applications remotely are good places for private clouds,” Powell says, adding that productivity likely can be enhanced with a private cloud setup.

Another consideration: SMBs with far-flung workforces often have duplicate technologies, making private clouds a cost-saving option. A good time to consider a private cloud is when hardware approaches its end of life.

On the other hand, there are some situations that aren’t suitable for a private cloud at all. Legacy applications may have underlying code issues that rule out virtualization, and high-use SQL servers also aren’t good virtualization targets, according to Powell.

For those SMBs where a private cloud is a good option, Powell says that channel partners have to spend plenty of time up front planning and identifying areas where a private cloud would create the least disruption while still leading to the biggest benefits. Areas such as email, collaboration applications, and unified communications should be targeted first for a private cloud, for example. Powell cautions against the tendency to simply deploy a private cloud for the sake of doing so, however. “If something is not broken,” he says, “don’t fix it.”

For more information on private clouds, find out how to separate the buzz from the hype.

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