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Customers need cloud experience both on and off prem

One of the talking points at the recent MicroScope storage roundtable was around the shift towards off-prem with vendors concluding that the experience is what really matters more than the location

Customers have been pushing more data through the cloud and last year saw more deployment off-prem with most users now in a hybrid situation.

The challenge for the channel has been to make sure that they can help customers move into a 'multi-cloud' world and react to the management challenges that follow.

At a recent MicroScope roundtable TechTarget research about the balance of off-prem overtaking on-prem for the first time last year was shared. Vendors have already recognised the shift and are preparing partners for the situation.

"You hear the term ‘hybrid cloud’, you hear the term ‘multi-cloud’ and there are different academic definitions for both. If you think about it though it’s everything that is integrated on-prem, and public cloud is about accessing more than one external cloud service. If you put those two things together it’s top of the IT department’s list," said Joachim Mason, head of datacentre, UK & Ireland, Cisco.   

The issue is also one that resellers are encountering on a daily basis as they talk to customers keen to make the move to a hosted environment.

"Every single client we're talking to at the moment wants to enforce a multi-cloud or hybrid strategy because they're always going to have a bunch of stuff left behind.  We estimate maybe between 40 and 60% of normal enterprise applications are not going to go to public cloud," said Scott Reynolds, practice lead, hybrid IT, Logicalis

"In the last 6 months, I have not met a single customer who doesn't have a cloud-first strategy where SaaS is top of the list," he added "Customers with an existing enterprise application customised to their business model and designed to meet their work flow processes, cannot run it in any of the SaaS provided models because they do not allow for customisation or tailoring. So, instead, they have to manage those on-prem."

The approach that most vendors are taking is to provide continuity of experience, regardless of whether the data is off or on-prem.

"Customers are wanting a cloud-like experience, and are increasingly understanding that this means a combination of on and off prem infrastructure.  In the customers mind, it’s about the speed of execution. If the infrastructure is designed correctly, then that could deliver “cloud-like” on prem," said Andy Brewerton, director – channels, Western Europe and Africa, Nutanix.

There is also a question of cost and Angelo Apa, director of Lenovo DCG,  said that it was important that the channel provided flexibility.

"People are interested in the economics of cloud more than they're interested in the ability to host it somewhere else.  It's basically how can I pay for what I use rather than how do I pay up front," he said.

"That's the real question that's being answered here, the flexibility and the availability and all that stuff  is what  we use  is used in order to go out and try to sell the stuff," he added.

 To read the full debate coverage of the roundtable will be posted early next week.

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