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Making the Case for Niche Clouds

Mike ChaseBy Mike Chase

Steve Jobs once said, “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that one must have the quality, simplicity and focus to be around long enough to cross the finish line. I’ve seen countless brighter, bigger and more well-funded adversaries die over the last four years. Cloud is indeed a digital Sparta, so how will you and your merry band of 300 warriors survive? Use this blog as your battle plan to success. Niche clouds offer their channel partners high margins, a better customer experience and a product that is best in its class.

In the case of David vs. Goliath, being smaller wasn’t a bad thing — as long as you have terrific aim. That was the point that Steve Jobs made: The minute you become a “me too” guy and align your product offerings to match a larger player, you also become easier to be completely wipe out.

Business is all about differentiators.  Without them, the commodity price wars begin and the incumbent is always favored.

Cisco’s CEO John Chambers has an approach to owning a market which is “to change the rules of the game.” John not only chooses where and how to fight, but changes the consumer mindset as to what we are even fighting over. Is the real battle to move a packet over the wire or is it about what we do with that packet that matters? To find the disruptive pattern that will be your competitor’s undoing, you must intimately understand what they do best, do poorly and, most importantly, what they don’t do at all. In the movie “Ender’s Game” this concept is illustrated clearly. Ender says, “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment, I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them…” — “You beat them”, chimes in his sister, Valentine.  Ender continued, “No, you don’t understand. I destroy them. I make it impossible for them to ever hurt me again. I grind them and grind them until they don’t exist.” Amen Ender!

Entire books have been written on disruptive players in every industry from steel manufacturing to technology. In cloud, you have industry giants like Amazon and Azure, and niche, yet highly disruptive clouds like DigitalOcean, dinCloud, Egnyte and others.  There’s a reason why there are multiple cloud players in the market: The battle has just begun!

DigitalOcean has a platinum tipped spear around high-end cloud servers running on pure SSD storage; dinCloud attacks with a trident spear around virtual desktops, security and transport; Egnyte has cloud storage that integrates with Microsoft ActiveDirectory, onsite storage and neat features like file locking, sharing, etc.

What’s great for channel partners is that niche disruptive clouds have very mature partner strategies that pay high margins for delivering excellent customer experiences, focus on a premium infrastructure to deliver that model and spend all their time, resources and innovation on moving their niche forward.

For example, when you dare to compare the smaller cloud vs. the larger cloud, you will find anywhere up to 40 key differentiators which motivate customers to choose differently. All that and most times, these smaller vendors are priced way less than the big brand clouds. However, at the end of the day, customers are keen to solve business challenges which have a certain financial cost and/or pain to them, which can be saved by leveraging a cloud-based solution with less cost, yet more functionality. Knowledge is power.

It’s takes a large channel to educate customers and empower them. While the big brand clouds are mostly about Web-facing customers, the niche clouds are pioneering amazing solutions based on real requests in the field to solve major challenges that CIOs face in numerous verticals, like legal, health care, financial, manufacturing and other “niche” areas with huge impact. The more customers ask questions around the quality, security, transport, performance, reporting and other functions of cloud, the more likely they will pick a niche disruptive player — especially one who can easily integrate with their multicloud and on-site infrastructure easily.

Why would you or your customers choose the least performing virtual desktop or run slower servers with less vCPU, less memory and less IOPS on an unencrypted disk or even consider cloud storage that doesn’t integrate with your Microsoft ActiveDirectory when you don’t have to? Try some heroes; it will add to your zeros.

Mike L. Chase, J.D., is the executive vice president and chief technology officer for dinCloud, a cloud service provider and transformation company that helps businesses and public/private organizations rapidly migrate to the cloud through the hosting of servers, desktops, storage, and other cloud services via its strong channel base of VARs and MSPs.


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