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ARN Roundtable report: Build the Cloud of the future

ARN Roundtable report: Build the Cloud of the future

There’s no question that IT services will dominate the way people work and live in the future

Attendees (left to right): James Leitch (Optus), 
Timothy Otton (Telstra); George Kazangi (Blue Central), Michael Diaz (Veeam), Steve Martin (NEXTDC),  Jennifer O’Brien (ARN), Craig Somerville (The Somerville Group), Hafizah Osman (ARN), David Hanrahan (Dimension Data), Scott Atkinson (BigAir), Moheb Moses (Channel Dynamics), Philip Meyer (Microsoft), Stephen Parker (Rhipe), Jules Rumsey (Cloud Plus), Yoni Kirsh (Fastrack Technology)

Attendees (left to right): James Leitch (Optus),
Timothy Otton (Telstra); George Kazangi (Blue Central), Michael Diaz (Veeam), Steve Martin (NEXTDC), Jennifer O’Brien (ARN), Craig Somerville (The Somerville Group), Hafizah Osman (ARN), David Hanrahan (Dimension Data), Scott Atkinson (BigAir), Moheb Moses (Channel Dynamics), Philip Meyer (Microsoft), Stephen Parker (Rhipe), Jules Rumsey (Cloud Plus), Yoni Kirsh (Fastrack ...


Ups and downs

While the hot business trend is to provide a customer with a business outcome – as opposed to simply delivering components – there are some challenges with it.

BlueCentral managing director, George Kazangi, said there are big challenges with playing the outcomes game. Blue Central offers a range of IT and Cloud services and has experience in extending a customer’s datacentre.

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“The problem with outcomes-based is it’s no longer the IT buyer. You’ve now got budgets that come out of sales or marketing, and they have got a different driver. They have a different outcome.”

To make matters worse, Kazangi said many of the C-level executives (CMOs and CSOs for example) don’t care about the datacentre considerations and whether they choose a private, public or hybrid Cloud, and also don’t pay attention to the security or licensing aspects, which are crucial elements to consider.

“Most CMOs and CSOs and all those C-level executives don’t care. They don’t ask the question, they just care about the outcome. And that is probably the hardest thing to deal with.”

But Cloud Plus’ Jules Rumsey said this lack of knowledge in certain areas signals an opportunity for the channel.

“This is where the channel is so important because you can have people like us who are largely infrastructure players and then you have a systems integrator who’s been looking holistically at a client’s business and they might have a whole lot of skills in terms of specific applications and how to integrate them and have deep understanding of the clients needs. So working together you can deliver that a lot more effectively than a single company trying to do everything.”

Channel Dynamics’ Moheb Moses said the changing face of the buyer, with power often going to the marketing and HR departments, is an interesting challenge for the channel.

“A lot of the sales people and the partners that I deal with are exceptional at selling to IT, but they actually don’t know what a marketing person wants as an outcome. They don’t understand metrics about sales, lead conversion and so on. You mention that to the average rep and they look at you and blink. You talk to their sales rep about staff retention and all that and they don’t understand those things because they know how to sell to IT. That is a clear challenge for the partners who now we believe are responsible for delivering these outcomes. A lot of these partners actually don’t have the skills or knowledge to deliver on a business outcome.”

Consensus among attendees was that the partner community has no choice: they have to embrace change and learn the necessary skill set to be able to deliver business outcomes for customers.

With Cloud and the datacentre entering the next phase of evolution and embracing the 3rd-platform technologies, partners need to embrace a whole new set of skills. With companies running out of datacentre space and encountering power and cooling issues, it’s extremely important for datacentre leaders to be educated in areas such as facilities.

Indeed, partners are required to be a jack-of-all-trades and have a mix of IT, facilities and security management expertise. In a datacentre, in particular, everything comes together and you have networking, facilities, business units, security and storage.

The big hybrid push

In Australia, the hybrid Cloud model, where an organisation provides and manages some resources in-house and has others provided externally, has proved very popular. Gartner proposes that 50 per cent of enterprises will have hybrid Clouds by 2017.

Dimension Data’s David Hanrahan said enterprise, public sector and finance are the main players moving toward a hybrid Cloud model - whereas the smaller players are holding back and opting for colocation and managed services.

“I think to get to hybrid Cloud right down to the small/medium place, they probably want to put it all somewhere; they don’t want to end up split. Enterprise is happy to deal with the fact that they’ve got complexity. But smaller scale people are looking for some form of, ‘Can I just buy it all from you?’”

Microsoft’s Philip Meyer agreed, saying hybrid makes perfect sense for the top end of town. He said the hybrid Cloud story enables companies to get the best of both worlds. Why choose between your datacentre and the Cloud when a hybrid Cloud solution gives you both, he added.

“The hybrid Cloud definitely is that enterprise model - what’s the most economic place, who’s going to give me the choice about domestic in place,” he said. “Partners need to learn how to articulate the story in an enterprise sale. In the same vein, they’re going to have to support the small business, who is going to move it all to the Cloud.”

Cloud and colocation story

Enterprises don’t have to choose colocation or Cloud. It’s now about colocation and Cloud services coexisting so IT can evolve, according to industry analysts.

NEXTDC’s Martin agreed, saying Cloud and colocation work in partnership with each other.

“NEXTDC is in a very lucky and privileged position in that we get to see a little bit of all of your businesses and we understand or have a very, very high level understanding of what your business is doing, what everyone is doing in the marketplace,” he said.

He explained the breakdown of where compute resides today, how hybrid Cloud is a popular choice, and where co-location fits into the story.

“Approximately 15 per cent of a customer’s compute is going to be in the public Cloud, around 35 per cent of a customer’s compute is going to be in the private Cloud, and the remaining 50 per cent of compute is still going to be proprietary or in-house. And so that is hybrid. That is hybrid through and through. That is the raw core definition.

"Customers want to locate their proprietary in-house stuff as close as they can to their public and their private stuff so that they can deliver all of their IT requirements in as consistent a fashion as possible,” he said.

“So NEXTDC very clearly sees that Cloud plus co-location is the future for at least the next three to five years across the vast majority of customers mid-market and above. And I know there are many small businesses that will go all in on the Cloud and the statistics change on every type of organisation, but at a very high level those numbers align to what other people are seeing in the marketplace. So the organisations and the resellers, the channel that is able to talk the whole story is able to integrate a public Cloud piece with a private Cloud build and continue to manage the proprietary stuff that’s not going through anybody’s Cloud anytime soon. That’s the real strategy for winning.”

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