Sunday, February 28, 2010

Competing With The Cloud

A major benefit of cloud computing, according to its proponents, is that it reduces the amount of computer hardware and IT infrastructure companies need to run their businesses. So you would think that cloud computing would be bad news for custom system builders who make their living assembling computer hardware for their customers.

"It's a complete reversal from the traditional custom system builder approach," said Todd Swank, marketing vice president at Nor-Tech, a Burnsville, Minn.-based custom system builder. "We start with the hardware sale and the cloud is all about not having hardware."

"We're trying to figure out how this affects our hardware sales," agreed Joe Toste, sales and marketing vice president at Equus Computer Systems, a Minneapolis-based custom system builder.

But while the growing adoption of cloud computing could spell trouble for custom system builders, Swank is convinced there's a golden opportunity in them thar cloud systems. "It's going to be the wave of the future and how we make money on it is the question I'm trying to figure out," he said.

Read Full Article Here:;jsessionid=RDNEPPL0IRRW3QE1GHPSKH4ATMY32JVN?pgno=1

Friday, February 26, 2010

Google Set To Challenge Microsoft In The Channel

Google (NSDQ:GOOG) and Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) compete vigorously in areas like search, mobile devices, and SaaS applications, but when it comes to the channel, there's no comparing the two companies. This week, as Google celebrates the one-year anniversary of its Google Apps Authorized Reseller Program, the notion of Google becoming as synonymous with the channel as Microsoft is doesn't seem as far-fetched as it used to.

That's not to suggest that Google hasn't encountered difficulties along the way. Solution providers tend to regard vendor newcomers to the channel with the cold, appraising eye of a father sizing up his teenage daughter's first boyfriend. So when Google launched its program last February, many VARs that have built businesses around face-to-face interactions were skeptical. And in some early cases, their suspicions were confirmed.

Some VARs that tried to engage with Google were irked by being unable to reach a human company representative, and didn't appreciate being steered instead to Google's Web-based support. Daniel Duffy, CEO of Valley Network Solutions, a solution provider in Fresno, Calif., says that based on what he's seen from Google thus far, the company isn't quite ready to build meaningful channel relationships.

Read full article here:;jsessionid=VLW55XGQBA4YJQE1GHPCKH4ATMY32JVN?cid=nl_crn

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Double-Take Software on Monday said it is partnering with Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN) on a real-time workload and storage recovery platform combining its data protection software with Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Double-Take Software on Monday said it is partnering with Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN) on a real-time workload and storage recovery platform combining its data protection software with Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

The company's new Double-Take Cloud disaster recovery offering lets customers quickly recover operations to the cloud in case of a disaster at their production site, said Peter Laudenslager, senior manager for the cloud recovery program at Southborough, Mass.-based Double-Take.

It is aimed at customers who either do not have access to a remote disaster recovery site, or whose remote site is already maxed out in terms of power or other resources, Laudenslager said.

Double-Take Cloud is based on the company's data protection software, which includes such storage services as replication and rapid recovery, and adds Amazon EC2 on the back end, Laudenslager said.

Read Full Article Here:

Rackspace Cloud introduces first comprehensive partner program for cloud computing

The Rackspace Cloud, the cloud computing division of Rackspace Hosting has announced its' new Partner Program for resellers and affiliates. The emphasis was on designing a flexible program that streamlines interactions between the company and its solution partners, and which makes it easy to do business with Rackspace Hosting.

With the new program, these partners can leverage simple set-up, sign-up and payment processes, both for themselves and their customers. The program includes online resources such as a web portal for tracking and reporting; webinars and marketing collateral; opportunities for co-marketing; and open, standards-based APIs that are easy to build upon. The Rackspace Cloud also provides end-user billing and end-user support services to help eliminate time-consuming tasks from the partner's day-to-day business.

Read Full Article Here:

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Cloud Turning Point For A Microsoft Dynamics VAR

Simon Whittle, the COO of The AIS Group , a longtime Berkeley, Calif. Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) Dynamics GP accounting solution provider, decided it was time to add a cloud solution last summer after losing a number of deals to cloud/SaaS pioneer NetSuite.

The "tipping point" came after a notoriously conservative financial customer that The AIS Group had worked with in the past decided to go with NetSuite rather than Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Whittle says The AIS Group was "surprised" by the customer's decision, given what had been a hesitancy among financial customers to "give up control of IT and data management for obvious reasons including regulatory" requirements.

The customer was impressed by NetSuite's ability to offer a global solution via the Web with full Asian double byte language support. That meant full support for Asian countries where the customer was doing some outsourcing. That language support and NetSuite's ability to provide solid 24 hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week support were critical factors.

That deal was also a wake-up call of sorts for The AIS Group, which decided to look at becoming a NetSuite partner. To The AIS Group's pleasant surprise, a number of the executives from NetSuite had their roots in the ACCPAC Software that The AIS Group had sold at one time.

"The NetSuite guys heading up the channel were all old industry guys," he said. "They had been around the block just like us." That made the move more comfortable for The AIS Group which brought on the NetSuite product line last October.

Read Full Article Here:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Clash of the technology titans

The largest technology companies in the world are at war.

Sure, the executives who run Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle, and others appear to play nice: Cisco touts the "regular dialogue" between its CEO, John Chambers, and IBM's chief executive, Sam Palmisano. Ann Livermore, an HP executive vice president, spoke at Oracle's annual customer event in October and extolled the virtues of their partnership. And because large customers buy software, gear, and services from all the tech giants, their staffs must work together to get computers and networks up and running.

Don't be fooled by the handshakes and air kisses. Increasingly these titans are invading one another's territories in a bid to grab as much of the $1.5 trillion in projected 2010 worldwide corporate tech spending as they possibly can — and it's going to get bloody.

Customers have cut their tech purchases, and when they do loosen their purse strings, they are buying software and services that help them run their systems more cheaply. To boost sales and profits in this low-growth environment, technology companies are bulking up by buying companies in entirely new businesses.

Read Full Article Here:

ThinkGrid Cloud Channel Program Aims To Woo Microsoft BPOS Partners

U.K.-based ThinkGrid is looking to take the U.S. channel by storm and already has its sights set on what will surely be its largest competitor: Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT).

"Some of the big vendors you associate with being channel-friendly are becoming channel-unfriendly," ThinkGrid CEO Rob Lovell said in an interview. Specifically, Lovell called out Microsoft and its BPOS SaaS application suite channel saying Microsoft BPOS VARs tend to receive thin margins.

ThinkGrid is looking to take on Microsoft and woo away its BPOS partners as it prepares to launch its first official channel program in the U.S. after 18 months in the UK.

Read Full Article Here:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cloud Price War: Amazon Drops AWS Rates As Microsoft Windows Azure Goes Live

Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN) has reduced its pricing structure for outbound data transfers in Amazon Web Services (AWS) dropping it by two cents per GB across all of its services.

The move comes as Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) officially launches its Windows Azure cloud computing platform as a pay service, prompting some industry watchers to see the AWS rate decrease as a signal of a price war about to erupt.

According to Amazon, the reduced charges include Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon SQS, Amazon RDS and Amazon VPC.

"We are constantly working to drive our costs down and become more operationally efficient," Amazon's Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post. "We then pass on those cost savings to our customers in the form of lower prices."

Effective February 1, AWS reduced the price of the first 10 TB per month from 17 cents per GB to 15 cents; the next 40 TB per month is reduced from 13 cents to 11 cents; the next 100 TB per month is lowered from 11 centers to 9 cents per GB; and over 150 TB per month is now reduced from 10 cents to 8 cents.

Read full article here:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Microsoft Starts Charging For Windows Azure

Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) on Monday launched its Windows Azure cloud computing platform as a paid service, but smaller companies are unlikely to be among its first customers. That's because Azure doesn't currently include a pricing option that makes sense for smaller applications.

It's hardly a new issue: Developers have been talking about this since last July when Microsoft revealed its pricing model for Azure. But with Microsoft now going up against established cloud computing competitors such as Google, and Amazon, it could impede Microsoft's progress in the market.

With Azure, Microsoft charges 12 cents an hour for 'compute time,' which means that even a small Azure instance costs around $86.40 per month, plus storage and bandwidth charges. According to Roger Jennings, an independent .Net developer and principal consultant of OakLeaf Systems, Oakland, Calif., this locks out very small, low traffic Web sites that typically use much cheaper shared hosting options.

Read full article here: