Opinion

Cloud of misconception still haunts the channel

Microsoft's SMB cloud supremo has strongly defended the channel against critics who say utility computing will bypass the reseller.

Cloud services suffer from an image problem at the moment, he argued, and the misconceptions do nobody any good. "People inarticulately lump all the cloud services together, as if they were some uniform mass," Pete King, Microsoft's SMB Cloud lead told IT in Context.

Yes, some services such as email and ecommerce are the finished product. But those are a world away from platforms like Azzure, which present the opportunity for creating new applications.

The intellectual property of the channel will become invaluable as the cloud industry develops. This isn't just restricted to Microsoft ISV's who will develop applications, but systems integrators who create new routines for integrating apps and working across the boundaries of firewalls. Meanwhile, infrastructure vendors will have their work cut out creating the foundations on which cloud services can be delivered. "There are a lot of companies who are a long way from ready for that," said King.

With a channel of 33,000 partners, ranging from distributors to ISVs, systems integrators to licensed resellers, Microsoft's channel is multi faceted, but the cloud permutations will be infinitely more varied, he said.

"Our partners will help companies break through the barriers," said King. It will help when people understand how diverse and polymorphic the cloud is. Perception must change, he argued.

Perhaps that perception might change when people stop calling it 'The Cloud'. Just a suggestion.

This was first published in October 2011

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