Resellers Consumed With ‘Fear and Confusion’ Over Cloud Computing

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Only one in 10 IT channel partners understands cloud computing, a huge problem considering the opportunity the technology represents.

That’s according to a new study spearheaded by UK-based IT vendor Opal, which found an “alarming lack" of knowledge from the channel when it comes to cloud computing. Indeed, of the 1,000 recently surveyed resellers, VARs and systems integrators, 40 percent admitted to a sense of “fear and confusion" about cloud technologies.

The thing is, now is the best time for partners to push cloud computing to their customers.

“Our research has shown that one in five resellers has shrunk due to the challenging economic conditions," said Andy Hollingworth, Opal’s wholesale director. “In this climate it is important for channel operators to place the right strategic emphasis on the technology that will drive their business…and open new revenue streams, and cloud computing could provide the answer."

In fact, one-fifth of partners polled said they recognize the cloud will serve as a major sales stream, and another one-third said they consider cloud to be a “huge opportunity" for the channel. For that to come to fruition, though, resellers and similar partners will have to overcome their own trepidation so they can address customers’ concerns, which revolve around security and downtime.

“We are starting to change perceptions of cloud computing among end users who can see that, with the right network infrastructure in place, the huge benefits of cloud-based applications and storage can be realized," Hollingworth said.

Many of the surveyed partners thought the success of the cloud comes down to having the right software in place, Hollingworth noted, but the reality, he said, is that a “resilient next-generation network is…essential…for this important technology."

To that point, the Spring 2011 Channel Partners Conference & Expo will explore the challenges and opportunities brought about by the cloud. There’s an entire track, Discover Cloud Services, dedicated to the topic, plus a new, exclusive roundtable, the Cloud Convergence Council, where IT and telecom partners will consider strategic issues including business models, performance expectations and more.

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