Cloud computing applications and services guide

Taking advantage of cloud computing seems like a tough task, but this guide explains the role that solutions providers play and the technologies they should know about.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS


The role of solutions providers and VARs in the cloud
Cloud computing applications and services
Cloud computing and virtualization
Comparing cloud computing technologies
More on cloud computing applications and services

Many solutions providers and value-added resellers (VARs) aren't sure how they fit into the cloud computing market. And they aren't sure how they can help their customers transition to a cloud computing environment, either. The purpose of this guide is to help you clearly define your role while exploring the different aspects of cloud computing.

Cloud services and applications can provide business opportunities for you while helping to cut costs for your customers. You will also learn about cloud computing in virtual environments with the resources in this guide.

The role of solutions providers and VARs in the cloud
When customers need assistance with cloud applications, services, security, integration and customization, they will look toward solutions providers and VARs. This section will prepare you for the types of questions and issues customers have when considering cloud computing implementation. Solutions providers should be very familiar with the hosting process, and play at least a partial role in it, to take full advantage of potential cloud opportunities. VARs should view cloud computing as a platform to help customers and as an opportunity to enhance their own service offerings.

Solutions providers play advisory role in cloud computing model
When it comes to the cloud computing model, should solutions providers participate in the hosting process? This article takes a look at the options a solutions provider has and how their role as an advisor affects customers. Cloud computing can be beneficial to solutions providers because it can help them offer services that they could never build themselves. With this article, you'll also learn about applications that can present cloud computing opportunities, including enterprise resource planning software.

VARs, distributors assess their cloud computing role
Vendors and solution providers are saying that the role of the channel in cloud computing should not be underestimated. Learn the four areas where a VAR's insight is critical, including offering seamless integration of on-premise applications and services and customizing cloud-based applications. Solutions providers must also know how to deal with balancing cloud and managed services expertise with more traditional IT services skills.

VARs see vSphere 4 as opening for managed services bid
VARS should familiarize themselves with different versions of VMware's vSphere 4 that VMware has come out with, including Advanced, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus, to help customers decide what features are important and applicable to them. Being able to help customers to make educated decisions about the various platforms will help create new business opportunities for VARs. You also need to know how vSphere addresses security issues that customers are concerned with.

Microsoft execs re-pledge partner participation in the cloud
Find out what Microsoft's plans to offer software through several delivery models -- including vendor-hosted, partner-hosted and on-premise -- mean for VARs and their customers. This rededication to partner participation in the cloud was spurred by the fact that there are data centers worldwide, and not even Microsoft can build a cloud in every country. For full implementation, Microsoft needs partners to be connected to the "Microsoft cloud computing system."

Cloud computing applications and services
Cloud computing services can be beneficial to VARs, solution providers and their customers. This section includes frequently asked questions that explain how solutions providers can use these services to gain even more business. By learning how cloud computing environments work and how you fit into them, you will have an immediate advantage in the cloud computing market. You will also find out the best way to approach your cloud computing strategy, and ways to offer support for cloud computing applications.

Tech Watch: Cloud computing services
VARs and systems integrators can prepare for and profit from cloud computing services by integrating software and providing better support for business processes. Solutions providers should be able to quickly provision applications such as customer relationship management, Web hosting, content filtering and email. You can also use the cloud to help customers cut infrastructure and operations costs. Cloud computing services will look appealing to customers that are trying to use up their operations budgets instead of adding capital expenses.

FAQ: Using cloud computing services opportunities to get more business
Read this FAQ and see how our expert responds to questions about using cloud computing services opportunities to gain business. Do you know what distinguishes a cloud computing environment from a traditional or virtualized IT environment? Do you know which resources are needed for supporting and sustaining cloud computing environments? Find out the answers to these questions as well as how channel organizations and solution providers use cloud computing opportunities to their advantage.

FAQ: Cloud-based computing applications and services
Our expert explains how solutions providers can assist their customers in using cloud-based computing applications and services. After reading this FAQ, you will know what cloud computing technologies are available for your customers, how to encourage your customers to use cloud computing services and applications, and what aspects you should include in your cloud computing strategy.

Cloud computing and virtualization
Cloud computing and virtualization are often discussed in unison, but where exactly does the cloud fit into the world of virtualization? This section provides information on how cloud computing can be a mechanism for hosted services, how public and private clouds meet different customers needs in a virtual data center, and a few possible security risks. Knowing the ins and outs of public and private clouds, and knowing the types of workloads each can handle, will benefit you when you're trying to help your customers decide which model works best for their environment.

Q and A: Using virtualization to achieve green data centers
Cloud computing can play an important role in using virtualization to create green data centers. Our expert discusses how green data centers are going to affect the way VARs and solution providers do business in different ways and how the cloud factors into the process. The benefits and costs of a green data center as well as how to begin creating a green data center are also delved into during this Q and A.

FAQ: Virtualization management market forecast
There is a clear trend toward cloud computing in virtualization management, and this FAQ delves into the difference between public and private clouds and how your customers use each model. Private clouds are used for customers' individual data centers, and they are enabled by closely managed virtualization technology. The role of public clouds in the virtualized data center is to handle large workloads. Our expert maintains that virtualization management services help customers by ensuring that only the right workloads are deployed to external clouds.

Virtualization vulnerabilities leave clouds insecure
Cloud computing in virtual environments may be more vulnerable than once thought. If the location of a running virtual machine is found, virtualization "side-channel" attacks could occur. As solutions providers and VARs, the information in this article is critical to providing proper support to clients. Take a look at how private clouds can be vulnerable to the same types of attacks, and see how Amazon responds to these security risks.

Comparing cloud computing technologies
There is a great deal of competition between vendors and solutions providers as cloud computing technology continues to develop. Cisco Systems and VMware Inc. each offer distinctive features when it comes to the cloud. In this section, you will learn that VMware's vSphere 4 specialization in virtualization and Cisco's Unified Computing System network capabilities are both vital aspects to cloud computing. You'll also get information on the Microsoft Azure vs. Amazon Web Services debate and learn more about features and pricing.

Cisco Unified Computing System vs. VMware vSphere 4
Cisco's Unified Computing System and VMware's vSphere 4 compete against and complement each other in different ways when it comes to building private clouds for enterprise data centers. Experts say you can't have one without the other, because they offer different but vital aspects to the cloud. vSphere 4 is a virtualization platform, and its value to the cloud lies in its ability to let users build internal private clouds or external clouds as needed. Cisco can provide customers with the network necessary to tie server and storage elements together.

VARs eyeing cloud computing weigh Azure vs. Amazon Web Services
The Microsoft Azure vs. Amazon Web Services debate involves factors such as pricing, load balancing, setting up a server farm, high-availability work and provisioning. Learn the advantages and disadvantages of each Web service and how each service can fit your customers' cloud needs. One example of an issue your customers will need to be aware before making a purchasing decision is Microsoft Azure's lock feature. Use this article to make sure you are aware of the other issues when offering cloud services to customers.

More on cloud computing applications and services
Managing cloud applications
Maximizing your cloud applications
Cloud application strategy
IBM preparing advanced cloud services

This was first published in November 2009

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