By Carl Meadows
Many channel partners see cloud solutions as a threat to their hardware sales, but in the case of private clouds, they can be a boon. Whether an enterprise establishes its own private cloud or retains a private cloud hosting provider, the partner can still sell the cloud hardware and, with the latter, the partner also can resell cloud hosting services.
Indeed, channel partners should be happy if their customers use either a combination of cloud and traditional solutions — a hybrid environment. Why? Because all signals point to a huge increase in spending for private cloud computing by businesses and organizations over the next few years.
Let's make sure we're on the same wavelength. First, many organizations use the "public" cloud computing model, often for test and development purposes. A service provider furnishes the compute, storage, hardware and bandwidth costs to many customers and the customer manages and provisions services on their own. It's easy and inexpensive to set up and a company pays for what it uses so no resources are wasted. Amazon Web Services, IBM's Blue Cloud, Good AppEngine and Windows Azure Services Platform are all examples of public clouds.
Private cloud computing typically is used to run applications in production. Unlike public clouds, private clouds are proprietary networks or data centers managed by the organization it services or by a third party. So the hardware, compute, data storage and network can assure high levels of availability and security that can't be accessed by other clients if they're in the same data center.
A business can manage its own private cloud but use a third-party data facility to store its servers and other hardware, relying on the data center to supply power and security. But a business also can retain a managed private cloud hosting provider that will provide a turnkey solution — from space and power to the dedicated (or in some cases virtual private) cloud computing infrastructure.
Large enterprises may find it feasible — even cost-effective — to build and manage their own private cloud; they possess the money, resources and time to do that. But small and medium businesses typically don't have those resources nor do they necessarily want to manage their private cloud. Many take a similar view as most car owners: "I don't fix my own car because I don't have the expertise or time, and I just don't want to." These businesses figure their IT professionals can focus on their strategic initiatives and leave the day-to-day managing to the private cloud hosting provider.