Cloud computing -- or at least the prospect of it-- has been changing the face of IT in the last several years, but for VARs it has even more potential to affect their sales and revenue models. The reason is that if business customers take their operations to private or public cloud infrastructures, VARs could see significant revenue and business hits.
But not all VARs are worrying about it. Although some big research firms already estimate that 25% of enterprise software will be used on the cloud by next year, those predictions are a bit ahead of themselves, said Greg Starr, a partner and COO of I.T. Works, a VAR in Houston. "Nobody really knows," Starr said. "It's all a guess."
Some clients are already going to hosted models for their Microsoft Exchange deployments because it can save money and requires less administration by their IT staffs, Starr said. "But at same time, the cloud won't work for everyone," he added.
"We know it's coming," Starr said. "Overall, though, there will still be clients -- especially in rural areas -- who can't move to the cloud because they lack a high-speed network access for cloud operations."
VARs will survive cloud computing, just like they got through similar evolving IT trends over the last few decades, said Carl Mazzanti, VP of network strategies at eMazzanti Technologies, a Hoboken, N.J.-based VAR. "All these associated networks -- where someone else builds it and you use it -- they have been around for 30 years," he said. "So the cloud doesn't scare me, not in the slightest degree."
Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist and freelance writer who worked as a staff reporter for Computerworld.com from 2000 to 2008. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves and watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies. Follow him on Twitter@TechManTalking.