Burgeoning cloud ecosystem provides a niche for every company

South Africa’s cloud-based infrastructure is growing rapidly, aided by a wave of new infrastructure providers targeting resellers.

December 9, 2013

South Africa’s cloud-based infrastructure is growing rapidly, aided by a wave of new infrastructure providers targeting resellers. This means, says Cloud on Demand CEO Jonathan Kropf, that cloud-based solutions are now a viable option for businesses of all sizes.

“At the enterprise level most businesses have the resources to manage their own cloud-based infrastructure,” says Kropf, “but IT departments in small and medium enterprises are running thin in terms of resources and skills. At Cloud on Demand we’re building a cloud platform that resellers, who know their own clients best, can use to build and offer solutions that fit the specific needs of their own market.”

Warren Olivier, South Africa regional corporate account manager for virtualisation backup solution provider Veeam Software, says the move is in line with a broader shift in the role of distributors and resellers. “It’s increasingly clear that just selling hardware and software is no longer a viable business model. The box-dropping era is over. The reseller’s biggest asset is now their relationship with their customer, and their ability to function as a trusted advisor.”

The advisory role is especially important because moving systems into the cloud requires specific skill set, adds Olivier. “Moving into the cloud is not a one-off action — once you’ve moved you need to pay attention to ongoing maintenance, support, management and optimisation, and this is where distributors and resellers can add real value.”

Kropf says this is exactly the market Cloud on Demand is targetting. “Two years ago it was all hype and wouldn’t have made sense, but things have moved very fast,” he says. “The cloud is now a reality and resellers need to adapt. But most of them are not in a position to build their own data centres, and they shouldn’t have to – their core skill is in crafting solutions for their customers, not running servers and storage networks.”

Cloud on Demand provides all the physical and virtual infrastructure resellers need to build tailored cloud solutions for their customers, says Kropf, including Veeam Backup and Replication. “Veeam helps our clients take full advantage of all the benefits of cloud computing,” says Kropf. “It’s more reliable, because every backup is fully tested and files or even entire servers can be restored instantly.”

In future, says Kropf, Cloud on Demand will also take advantage of Veeam’s ability to create “lab on demand” sandboxed development environtments. “It’s one of the biggest unintended benefits of Veeam backups,” he says. “You can use a Veeam backup of a virtual server to create a clone of that server in a safe, isolated environment for testing new software on. There’s zero risk if anything goes wrong – and because you’re testing on a clone of your real server there will be no surprises when you go live. We’re looking forward to offering this ability to our customers.”