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Up in the Air About Cloud Computing?

By Khali Henderson
February 04, 2010 - Article

If you are a channel partner, especially one selling telecom services rather than data hardware, you might be indifferent to the opportunity presented by cloud computing. It’s only natural that you would be up in the air — what does it have to do with selling connectivity, after all? Plenty as it turns out. Companies embracing cloud computing have a growing need for bandwidth. Got your attention? Good. The rest of this article will attempt to cut through the hype, bringing the cloud computing concept down to earth, so to speak, and discussing how channel partners can profit in the near term.

Defining Cloud Computing. In the same way that every flight you take begins with the emergency instructions, every article on cloud computing begins with a recitation of the definition. It’s painful, but it has to be done. Unlike the flight attendant’s demo, which we all know by heart, the cloud computing definition is worth paying attention to. Some of you may already know this (or think you do), but it bears repeating and heeding if only to make sure that we, dear reader, are on the same page.

In a recent survey of IT decision makers in the United States, the Technology Practice at Chadwick Martin Bailey found rampant confusion about the definition of cloud computing. Twenty-four percent didn’t know what it was and many of the rest incorrectly indentified cloud computing exclusively as software as a service or hosted/managed services. So what is it exactly? Sources PHONE+ spoke to predominantly cited a stack like the one modeled by Forrester Research:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) — compute, storage or other IT infrastructure delivered as service rather than as dedicated capability.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) — application platform or middleware on which developers can build and operate custom applications delivered as a service.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) — end-user applications, delivered as a service rather than as on-premises software.


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