9 Channel and Cloud Computing Surprises at Parallels Summit

February 18, 2011

By samdizzy


Talk about something old and something new: Classic channel companies and next-generation cloud companies are set to attend Parallels Summit (Feb. 22-24, Orlando). So what’s on the agenda for VARs, MSPs and aspiring cloud services providers (CSPs)? Here are nine surprises that will likely unfold at Parallels Summit.

9. Distributors in the Cloud: Ingram Micro VP of Cloud and Managed Services Renee Bergeron will be on hand. It’s safe to expect Bergeron to update attendees on the Ingram Micro Cloud — an educational portal and clearing house for SaaS applications that VARs and MSPs can promote to their end customers. Ingram is trying to decide when and how to more aggressively promote Ingram Micro Cloud in Europe. If I catch Bergeron’s ear, I’ll be sure to ask for an update.

8. After the Deal: SoftLayer and The Planet — two big hosting providers — merged in late 2010. SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby will be on hand to offer a reality check on the hosting market. For a preview of what Crosby may say, check out TalkinCloud’s FastChat Video with SoftLayer CTO Duke Skarda (left).

7. Big Service Providers Go SMB: Ebrahim Keshavarz, AT&T Vice President of Small Business Product Management, will discuss the cloud opportunity for communications service providers. I’ve met Keshavarz a couple of times. We last spoke around 2007, when AT&T was trying to figure out the municipal wireless and city WiFi markets. Assuming I grab some time with Keshavarz, I hope to ask him if channel partners fit in the AT&T SMB strategy — or if this is a purely direct play.

6. Goodbye Microsoft, Hello Cloud: Birger Steen, president of Parallels, used to oversee Microsoft’s small business efforts. I’m curious to learn what Microsoft experiences — if any — Steen is leveraging now that he’s focusing Parallels on the cloud computing revolution. Parallels, by the way, is helping Microsoft with a cloud syndication strategy that involves large service providers.

5. Intel Climbs Inside the Cloud: Apparently, Intel powers 9 out of 10 servers for the cloud, according to TechCrunch. Intel in 2010 co-launched the Open Data Center Alliance, which hopes to make it easier for customers to deploy cloud computing solutions. Billy Cox oversees Intel’s cloud strategy within the chip giant’s Software and Services Group. So how do Intel channel partners and cloud services providers potentially benefit from the Open Data Center Alliance. I hope to ask Cox that question.

4. Open Source Alternatives: Open-Xchange, which positions itself as an open source alternative to Microsoft Exchange, has been making a lot of channel and SaaS noise lately. Open-Xchange CEO Rafael Laguna apparently will surface at Partner Summit. So, how many SaaS channel partners have embraced Open-Xchange? And are those channel partners profitable? Laguna sounds like he’s willing to meet, so I’ll grab his ear.

3.The Microsoft Hyper-V Pitch: Bill Staples, GM for web platform and tools at Microsoft, is set to discuss the company’s Hyper-V virtualization strategy for public and private clouds. Last week, VMware warned channel partners not to get locked into Microsoft’s cloud strategy. But I hear from more and more channel partners who are intrigued by Hyper-V as an alternative to VMware. Plus, some channel partners are starting to give Windows Azure — a public cloud — a try. VMware claims to have 85 percent of the virtualization market.  But does Staples see the world differently? I’ll find out at Parallels Summit.

Also of note: Jon Rolls, VP of product management for Quest Software’s desktop virtualization group, will surface at the conference. Quest has been building a portfolio of desktop, server and managed services software for VARs and MSPs.

2. Intuit to the Cloud: BJ Schaknowski, director of Intuit Channel Sales and Marketing, is leading Intuit’s overall solution provider channel strategy. My local radio stations, here in New York, are carrying numerous Intuit cloud advertisements for SMBs. Also, big service providers like Verizon are promoting Intuit-branded cloud services. The question: If Intuit is getting cozy with Verizon and other massive service providers, is there still enough room at the Intuit channel table for smaller VARs and MSPs?

1.Hosted PBXes for Channel Partners: It’s going to be a big theme a the event. Watch for Alteva and BroadSoft to join Parallels in the spotlight as the push to promote hosted PBX services to channel partners accelerates.

That’s all for now. If you plan to attend Parallels Summit and want to potentially meet just post comment below or send me email (joe [at] NineLivesMediaInc [dot] com).

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