Cloud Computing – harnessing channel opportunities requires strong vendor support

Local interest in Cloud Computing is steadily growing and we are beginning to see an uptake in this platform.

December 3, 2013

By Sven Rathjen, VP Sales EMEA at WD

Local interest in Cloud Computing is steadily growing and we are beginning to see an uptake in this platform. This is extremely positive for resellers as the Cloud presents prospects for growth and increased market share. However, this requires strong partnerships with vendors, as well as commitment from vendors themselves to work hand-in-hand with their channel to ensure growth.

With the evolution of technology and the increased quality and availability of bandwidth, the Cloud has become inevitable. The opportunity lies in helping customers migrate, install, maintain and service their Cloud solutions. The vast majority of end users simply do not have the skills or the time and inclination to do this on their own.

Data centres are also growing in South Africa as companies start looking towards the variety of Cloud offerings available. This leads to a growing necessity for appropriate storage media in these environments. In fact, according to WD analysis and research, the number of Exabytes shipped within the Cloud and enterprise will increase from less than 1000 in 2013 to more than 5000 by 2020, and by 2020 more than 75% of Exabytes will be stored on hard disk drives. This creates an opportunity for resellers to offer appropriate hard drive technology.

The Cloud is not one solution, but many, including hosted applications, backup and Disaster Recovery, to name a few. Resellers need to be able to deliver the appropriate offering for these different purposes or applications.

To help meet the Cloud challenge, WD offers a variety of data centre and enterprise solutions, including a range of enterprise drives that are geared for different purposes and applications in the data centre, and for all sizes of business. For the personal and Small Office Home Office (SOHO) market with fewer than six drive bay NAS devices, WD offers the WD Red range of hard drives for lower workload and performance. The WD Se drive can be used in SOHO, Small to Medium Business (SMB) and large enterprise markets for medium workload and performance. The WD Re drive is geared towards the enterprise, providing the combination of high performance and reliability. The WD Xe is ideal for midrange to high-end enterprise solutions for high performance and reliability.

However, while there are many opportunities, in order for resellers to be able to manage and service Cloud environments, and understand the appropriate hard drive technology, they need to have an in-depth knowledge of both the environment and the products required.

WD understands this challenge and has put several initiatives in place to promote knowledge sharing and training within the channel. WD University is an example of this, providing distributors and resellers with the skills and knowledge transfer they require to match their clients’ needs with the correct products and technology. WD also provides technical training for its channel partners, driven by a local presence that manages this training. Further bolstering its channel is its myWD partner programme that assists resellers to maximise their margins. This benefit, amongst others, are only available to resellers that purchase WD stock from authorised WD distributors in South Africa.

Ultimately taking advantage of the Cloud requires vendors that are committed, consistent, loyal and stable towards their channel partners. Vendors need to see the value in long-term branding and mutually beneficial partnerships, which builds trust, understanding and loyalty to the brand form all sides. Only in this way will the Cloud not erode the channel, but help to build it and grow profitable market share.