Cisco on Cloud: 'The Opportunity Is Here'

By Kelly Teal Comments
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CHANNEL PARTNERS — Demand for cloud services keeps growing as the business drivers – agility, faster time to market, scalability, ease of deployment and opex spending – continue to prove themselves, creating a $200 billion addressable market.

That's the word from Ellen Berlan, Cisco's cloud director, Americas, at today's Cloud Connections Workshop hosted by Cisco and Intel one day before the official start of the Spring 2014 Channel Partners Conference & Expo.

Speaking of demand, more than 85 percent of business goes through Cisco partners as the Cisco Powered program for cloud reaches the two-year mark, Berlan noted.

"The opportunity is here," she said.

To that point, within the cloud ecosystem, some things are changing.

For one, risk is shifting to the vendor, Berlan said. For another, simplicity is king. And, finally, users are driving technology decisions, which means resellers need to consider how they're engaging with clients.

At the same time, pricing models also are evolving, giving partners the chance to determine the best fit for their practices. There are, of course, the standard consumption and subscription approaches. But now there's also "gain share," which is based on a company's financial performance. For instance, as a company's stock price goes up, so does its costs for cloud.

Still, despite the traction in cloud services, data security remains the No. 1 barrier to cloud adoption, Berlan said, citing recent statistics from Cisco research. The key to overcoming that challenge is to deploy clouds based on solid infrastructure, she said.

Above all, the cloud gives the channel a chance to reinvent itself and evolve alongside technology shifts. Partners must decide whether they are going to take part in a "Kodak moment or Apple moment," Berlan said, referring to the downfall of the long-time photography giant in the digital era and the simultaneous rise of the legendary Macintosh company as the mobile world took hold.

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