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The Yin and Yang of the Cloud in the IT Channel

If you ask most companies in the IT channel what the biggest game-changer is for them, chances are most would say the cloud.

Although interest in all things cloud remains strong, concerns over its security and performance, as well as inertia in some cases, mean it will be some time before the cloud dominates in the IT channel.

It's human nature to shy away from change, and the cloud is clearly bringing about new challenges for the IT channel.

Large Distributors Capitalize on Opportunities in the Cloud

Consider IT distributors, for example. In addition to financial and technological challenges, IT distributors face other obstacles, such as the perceptions of some channel partners that distributors don't add value to services from cloud vendors. Large distributors have been among the first to capitalize on opportunities in the cloud, and now other channel players are following suit.

Stepping cautiously into new markets makes sense for the channel. The cloud isn't an all-or-nothing proposition for companies in the channel or for its vendors, customers and others. Many companies are keeping on-premise IT as they migrate. Smart channel players are supporting both requirements. 

Channel InsiderChannel Insider contributor Michael Vizard sums up the opportunities and challenges this way: "As cloud computing becomes more complex, it's apparent that customers are going to need to integrate a wide variety of cloud services with existing on-premise applications for years to come. Of course, not all solution providers have a services capability or, for the matter, the right mix of services in their portfolios." 

There is Confusion Related to Cloud Computing

In a report released late last year, CompTIA discussed some of this uncertainty. "Although adoption rates are high and market numbers are positive, there is still confusion related to cloud computing," the report stated. "This confusion will hinder end users and channel firms from fully transforming their IT practices and offerings."

The confusion, which still exists, may be born out of fear. Yet the forces that some companies in the channel fear most are the very factors that will provide the most new business opportunities for them in the future.

Indeed, opportunities for the channel are broad and range from backing up and recovering data to ensuring security in the cloud. Time will tell how well the channel can capitalize on these opportunities.

Corinne Bernstein

Corinne Bernstein is managing editor of Channel Insider and eWEEK.

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