IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Analyst's Advice: Get Your Head into the Cloud

There are opportunities for channel partners in cloud technologies and virtualization, not only in reselling but in providing much needed advice to SMBs as they try to decipher the choices. By Colleen Frye By Colleen Frye

Analyst's Advice: Get Your Head into the Cloud

There are opportunities for channel partners in cloud technologies and virtualization, not only in reselling but in providing much needed advice to SMBs as they try to decipher the choices.

By Colleen Frye

If you haven't already, it's time to talk turkey with vendor partners about their cloud strategies, says Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT Inc., particularly in the area of storage. There are opportunities for channel partners there, as well as in the virtualization space, not only in reselling but in providing much needed advice to SMBs as they try to decipher the choices.

ChannelPro-SMB: What two or three key technology trends are you watching most closely that pertain to SMBs, particularly in this economy?
King:
The first is IT cost containment--not just the acquisition cost of buying new PCs, servers, and storage, which are certainly serious issues for SMBs, but long-term costs related to energy and management. More on the technological side, I think there is some very interesting stuff happening in the virtualization space.

This is an area where enterprises have been leading the uptake, but we're finally starting to see some very workable solutions for SMBs. Another area poised for rapid uptake is SaaS or cloud-based services, particularly related to online storage and backup and recovery.

ChannelPro-SMB: What are the opportunities for the channel in virtualization?
King:
Where small and midsize businesses engage with resellers for both server/storage and desktop solutions, this is an area where resellers could provide insight on the overall value proposition of something like VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure].

Even though virtualization is much easier to deploy and manage than even a year ago, it is an area where smaller businesses could use a hand in evaluating both the products and the potential benefits. In fact, I'm not sure this is an area where many small businesses would be willing to proceed without expert help.

ChannelPro-SMB: What about cloud-based or online storage services?
King:
Many of the cloud offerings tend to be more enterprise-oriented, but there are some storage services that are particularly attractive to SMBs. By moving to an online storage service, not only are you outsourcing the management of that environment, but you're also essentially escaping from having to continue to update and buy more disk space and expand your own IT infrastructure.

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