For channel partners – VARs, dealers, agents and integrators – that don't have the interest or skills to build private clouds, aligning with reliable private cloud service providers is key to success as a cloud partner.
Unlike public cloud services, which are engaged on a more tactical, opportunistic basis, private cloud providers must be selected strategically as a long-term partner for your customer, explained Vic Levinson, president of cloud partner Prime Telecommunications Inc. But with so many companies – from cloud pioneers like Amazon to colo/hosters like Rackspace to telcos like AT&T – now offering private cloud services, how do you know which to choose? Experienced cloud partners like Levinson and others said beyond the basics of a stable data center environment (space, power, connectivity, etc.), there are must-have capabilities that generally fall into the following areas:
Security and Regulatory Compliance. Since security concerns are the primary driver for using private clouds, it only stands to reason that selecting a provider with impeccable security policies, credentials and track record is paramount. That includes support for regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA and others. "A robust security environment that protects the cloud from the outside world, meeting banking, health care [and] PCI compliance standards and allows for secure access by remote workers, suppliers [and] customers is of the utmost concern in private cloud deployments," said Dave Wallace, president of Aligned Communications Inc., a telecom and cloud master agency.
Design. When selecting a cloud provider Wallace also recommended finding one that offers pre-sales design resources, rather than just quoting. "Private cloud service providers that get involved in the initial design tend to uncover better or more efficient ways of deploying the cloud initially envisioned," he said.
Jo Peterson, director of Converged Cloud and Data Services for TeleProviders, a telecom and cloud services broker, agreed. "Private cloud providers should offer architectural assistance, deployment guidance and other best practices that apply to your customer's cloud," she said.
Customization. While public clouds are WYSIWYG, private cloud hardware, network and storage infrastructure can be customized according to the needs of the customer to deliver greater performance and control, said Jessica Mayo-Pike, business development leader - Advanced Solutions for IPLogic Inc., a VAR and cloud broker.