First Canadian AWS Partner Summit Highlights Cloud Opportunities North of Border

Cloud growth is not unique to Canada as we know, but there are unique characteristics in the Canadian market you should know about.

January 31, 2017

3 Min Read
First Canadian AWS Partner Summit Highlights Cloud Opportunities North of Border

By WeathersfieldTM

Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently went live with two availability zones in Canada, near Montreal. The first AWS Partner Summit in Canada was held Jan. 24, which was well attended by existing and future partners. This is additional proof that demand in Canada for cloud services is strong, following Microsoft’s recent entry in the public cloud market in region as well. 

IDC, who participated in the AWS Partner Summit, projects that over $1 billion in CAN dollar spend will be targeted to IaaS in 2018, representing a very strong 45 percent CAGR, year over year, compared to the more mature SaaS market adoption of 15 percent. Growth is not unique to Canada as we know, but there are unique characteristics in the Canadian market that put its own spin on cloud rollout and related services.

Maturity of the Market

Marketers and analysts indicate that the cloud maturity level in Canada versus the U.S. is roughly five years behind. If that’s the case, more clients will opt for a cloud first/native approach versus other options – such as traditional hosting or colocation. No surprise: according to IDC, cloud is the number one CIO priority for 2017. 

Hybrid use cases will be the norm for the coming years however, especially in larger businesses. Traditional on-premise apps, housed in on-site data centers or colocation providers, represent nearly 90 percent of production apps today, so mixing data usage, service design and architecture, and operational capabilities into a hybrid support model is key. On-premise (colocation or on-site data center) apps and public cloud, or hyperscale, will continue to experience growth over the coming five years, according to IDC. 

Customer Segmentation and Residency

Much of Canadian businesses are small to medium businesses, with also a large enterprise (finance, healthcare, oil/gas, telecom, etc.) and public sector segment. Security concerns still weigh heavily and are a primary concern to most Canadian buyers. Larger enterprises and public sector apps are likely more sensitive to regulatory conditions or general business concerns on where data sits, is backed up, DR’d, etc. This is evident by the in-country investments and interest levels within the markets. 

Resources and Skills

Architecture, design and operational resources that can support hybrid and cloud native hyperscale deployments are a main concern, with recent data showing that we are spending more time managing existing apps (two more weeks last year, according to IDC) versus  innovating or implementing new projects. Cloud should make IT easier, but it needs to be done correctly, and skillsets are still very much maturing. 

Like the rest of the world, this market is experiencing the shift to the digital experience, as apps and the client experience shift to online, mobile, social, and big data/business intelligence to drive decision making. Cloud is the enabler for this. IDC indicates that more than 50 percent of businesses have barely started on this transformation, which is a great opportunity for service providers, integrators, and platform providers.  

About the Author

Jason Carolan is Chief Technology Officer at ViaWest, responsible for the strategic direction of all ViaWest IT solutions, products and technology initiatives.

Prior to ViaWest, Jason had nearly 20 years of experience in leadership positions in both small startup companies and large Fortune 100 enterprises, focused on product architecture, product management and technical sales. His previous roles include over 10 years at Sun Microsystems, where he was a distinguished engineer in network and systems architecture, focused on cloud computing and data center architectures, and director of cloud services engineering at VMware.

Jason was the lead author of one of the first books highlighting the combined use of virtualization and automation. He also has several patents in networking, data center resource management, virtualization, and security.


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