IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Building a Foundation for Reaching the Cloud

Some of the latest Microsoft TV commercials reflect scenes familiar to us all: stranded at airports waiting for crowded flights. In one spot, a couple is dismayed by the wait time for their delayed flight. How will they pass the time? “To the Cloud,” the man exclaims! He connects to his home PC to access a recorded TV show, “Celebrity Rehab: Season Premier.” Boredom abated, his wife says, “Yeah cloud.”

Is this the cloud? Or better yet, what is the cloud?

Defining cloud computing continues to confound the channel. As it’s been noted numerous times, there are as many definitions for the cloud as there are ideas for what the cloud should be. Is the channel a technology or a business model? What flavor of technology do businesses want to consume? And how should solution providers sell, deliver and support cloud products and services? Yeah cloud, indeed.

CompTIA founded its Cloud/SaaS Community with the express purpose of defining the various iterations of cloud computing, the business models behind cloud computing and, most importantly, identify the opportunities for solution providers in the cloud era.

The first work product of this group is two papers: “Outlining Cloud Computing for the Channel” and “Cloud Computing Business Models for the Channel.” These two works are the foundations for what CompTIA hopes will evolve into a professionalization of cloud computing through training and certifications.

“Outlining Cloud Computing for the Channel” provides a baseline of definitions for what cloud computing is. It defines the differences between software as a service, infrastructure as a service and platforms as a service. And it clarifies in practical terms how cloud computing differs from other service models, such as managed services. Is it a perfect paper or set of definitions? No, and that’s because cloud computing is dynamic and constantly changing. What the paper does is give a common reference point for the channel to express cloud concepts and offerings.

“Cloud Computing Business Models” dives into some of the operational aspects of cloud computing as a delivery mechanism for IT services. The cloud is about the aggregation of technology delivered on a recurring fee structure. But the Cloud/SaaS Community dug deeper to define how solution providers can adopt cloud services or relationships with service providers to deliver cloud products. It’s not a business plan, but rather a roadmap for helping solution providers define their place in the cloud.

These two papers complement cloud research conduct by CompTIA, such as “Cloud Computing: Pulling Back the Curtain.” This survey found that channel and end user organizations desired greater clarity on what cloud computing is and how they should adopt cloud services in support of their businesses.

The cloud computing era is in its infancy. Over the next decade, technology and business models will evolve rapidly, changing the way solution providers engage in cloud products. What CompTIA is providing through its Cloud/SaaS Community is the beginning of a protracted process for ensuring the channel has the information and tools it needs to make informed decisions about the cloud.


About the Author

With more than 2,000 members, 3,000 academic and training partners and tens of thousands of registered users spanning the entire information communications and technology (ICT) industry, CompTIA has become a leading voice for the technology ecosystem.

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