What came first, connectivity or the cloud? Much like the chicken and the egg, the argument can be made either way. Why would you have the cloud without a means of connection and similarly why would you have connections with nowhere to go? In essence, the two things have grown in importance over the last decade, mostly due to their need for each other.
High-speed data connectivity enables cloud services. Cloud services drive the need for high-speed data connectivity.
This might seem like a case of stating the obvious, but, sometimes it is easy to miss. Is there a business or organisation today that doesn’t have some form of data connectivity? I find it hard to believe there is. So selling the connectivity is not the objective itself, the challenge is justifying the need for those businesses to demand higher speeds and more robust connections. Cloud services are the way to achieve this goal whilst at the same time broadening your margin share.
One problem for the cloud is that people generally consider it an innovation and therefore they approach it with caution. However, the concept of drawing down on centralised services has been with us for decades. All utility services are delivered on a ‘pay as you use’ basis, after all you wouldn’t consider installing your own generator for electric or a reservoir for your water, and the same goes for data hosting.
Historically, telephony was served from the exchange until demand for more sophisticated features and more users made this untenable; so we put a box inside the business. Today the intelligence and sophistication can sit off site and the system size is completely scalable to the user's needs – a ‘pay as you use’ service. So it is hardly surprising that hosted telephony is set to achieve 40% year-on-year growth against its declining predecessor – the customer premise-based solution.
Twenty years ago, a business would have green screen terminals and run on an AS400 computer with 55MHz. Now your MacBook Pro comes with a 2.6GHz quad core processor, and that is just for one user. Moore’s Law, which has published in 1970, still rings true, stating that processing power will double every two years. It begs the question as to why businesses are investing in expensive hardware every few years. Why not drawdown from the cloud and take as much processing power as you need on a ‘pay as you use’ basis?
The Virtual Hosted Desktop puts the processing power in the cloud and means that you no longer have to worry about server performance or if users’ desktop devices are capable of handling the latest operating systems and applications. Gartner states that 43% of US SMBs have already adopted cloud served desktops. Gartner also found in its 2012 survey, that the greatest area of adoption of Virtual Hosted Desktop through to 2016 would be in the SMB market. Yesterday’s green screen terminal is fast becoming today’s tablet.
More and more cloud-based services will become available for businesses to consume on a predictable subscription basis; this is the way modern businesses want to operate. They want the ability to work from anywhere and at any time, and cloud is perfect for working on the go. Mobile data connectivity available on reseller-friendly tariffs is the final component in your armoury.
Cloud isn’t really a new thing, but it is clearly the logical way forward in many areas. Now resellers need to evaluate how best to broach the subject with their customers. Rather than gathering all the components together themselves, it is important for resellers to work with a partner that has a clear strategic understanding of how to serve your customers and make you central to their long-term plans.
Graham Harris, is product director for cloud at Daisy Wholesale