VMware banks on clouds

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VMware banks on clouds

‘Cloud computing’ promises to deliver lucrative new revenue streams for technology partners who get to grips with exactly what it can provide, Ian Grayson talks to VMware about the clouds.

The cloud concept, where IT capacity and services are delivered on demand, is not new however rapid advances in virtualisation technology are changing both the way it’s done and the methods by which it can be sold.

Australian managing director of virtualisation specialist VMware, Paul Harapin, says the technology allows channel partners to provide services to clients in ways that have previously not been possible.

Speaking after his company’s annual customer event in Las Vegas, Harapin says he expects a new category of offerings to emerge in the Australian market during the first half of next year.

“Cloud computing techniques will allow our partners to provide services-on-demand in a new way,” he says. “A good example is disaster recovery capabilities that companies will be able to have in place in much the same way that they have insurance policies today.

According to Harapin, large companies have traditionally faced the costly prospect of having duplicates of their mission-critical systems in a dedicated, off-side disaster recovery centre which was rarely if ever used.

Under a cloud-based model, the equivalent of such a facility could be ‘rented’ from a service provider only when it was needed, saving the customer considerable amounts of money. Internal systems that have been virtualised are simply moved to run on hardware owned and managed by the service provider.

“Companies will pay a retainer so that if and when they need external resources, they can get them,” says Harapin. “This is something companies have not been able to do before because it has been just too large and too complex to achieve. Virtualisation changes all that.”

A cloud-based delivery model can also allow many smaller companies to take advantage of services like disaster recovery for the first time, by removing the cost barrier and reducing the complexity involved.

Harapin points to telecommunications carriers as classic examples of companies that could provide virtual disaster recovery facilities as well as other services such as backup and on-demand processing capacity.

“The telcos already provide the communications links into a company. Now they will be able to provide extra cloud-based services without requiring their customers to make any changes to their existing IT infrastructures.”

Harapin says VMware, which relies on the channel for the vast majority of its sales, has around 800 partners in Australia and New Zealand. “We are a very partner-centric organisation, and a lot of that comes from the types of technologies we are providing,” he told CRN.

“People don’t just buy VMware just to virtualise a server. They buy it to transform their business and as a result they are buying servers, storage and consulting services. We don’t sell servers and storage and so it falls to our partners to deliver a complete package.”

He says VMware is working closely with existing partners to explain the potential offered by cloud computing and the ways in which they can taken advantage of it with their customer bases.

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