Customers need MSPs' help with hyperscalers, panelist contended.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

March 11, 2024

4 Min Read

CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO/MSP SUMMIT — The MSP Summit, part of the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, brought together MSPs from the 2023 Channel Futures MSP 501 to share their experiences with and advice for working with hyperscalers.

Paul Cronin, Apogee IT Services’ CEO, moderated the MSP Summit keynote panel on the friendliness of hyperscalers. He said the hyperscaler market is evolving, obviously driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and other trends.

Panelists included:

IFX Networks, which provides managed services across Latin America, works with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Oracle. New Charter Technologies has a Microsoft practice and Stronghold Data is in alignment with Azure and most of its clients are on Microsoft 365. And 66degrees works exclusively with Google.

“But from my past, before coming to 66degrees, I worked across all hyperscalers and specifically chose to work with Google in the AI and analytics space,” Steyer said.

The capability and the value around the hyperscalers, and the ability to scale pay only for what you're utilizing is compelling, Weaver said.

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“It can change the entire way a company spends on IT,” he said. “And I think that is now becoming commonplace. And almost all organizations that we work with at least have a part of their operations in one of them.”

Everybody has something, if not everything, in the cloud, Steyer said.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated cloud for Stronghold Data’s partners, Markley said. IFX Networks also has seen an increase in customers utilizing the cloud.

Working Directly with Hyperscalers

When asked if they see customers working directly with hyperscalers instead of through MSPs, Weaver said from a Microsoft perspective, the marketplace isn't designed for an end user or a customer to work directly with Microsoft.

“It's designed to be a place where partners can put solutions into the marketplace,” he said. “If you can put a transactable offer into the marketplace, midmarket and enterprise companies will actually get credit for their Azure spending. So I think there's a lot of value on the marketplace as long as you use it correctly.”

Google has created an industry value network, “which lets us pull solutions into the marketplace, which lets us put our IP connected with all of the applications needed for a customer to be able to select and choose the entire solution,” Steyer said.

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When it comes to AI, Google’s Gemini generative AI platform is leading the way because of security and the fact that it’s a multimodal solution platform, she said.    

Markley said when his customers ask about AI, he says, “Let’s look at your data; let’s look at your governance policies and let’s look at your security because until that’s right, you really don’t want to proceed and start turning things on.”

“Pretty soon the front desk person gets to see salaries they shouldn't and all kinds of funny things,” he said. “So it’s taking a step back and making sure that they understand how to get their own house in order, and then they can start looking at, 'OK, what insights do we get from that data?' Not to mention unless your data is organized, AI isn't going to decipher that to get any insights anyway.”

MSP Summit Advice for Working with Hyperscalers

In terms of working with hyperscalers and growing together, Weaver said he “loves” Microsoft’s technology, but anyone who’s a Microsoft partners knows Microsoft’s partner program is “complicated to say the least.”

“I do like some of the things that they're doing,” he said. “My advice to Microsoft would be to maybe create multiple tiers and make it a little bit less complicated to be a partner. And they still have on-premises, they're still selling on-premises software, but that side of the business doesn't know what the cloud side of the business is doing and they’re not communicating very well.”

Google is “very partner-centric,” Steyer said.

“They’re younger to the mix, so there’s some immaturity there, but they want every opportunity to have a partner connected to it,” she said. “In my space, it’s definitely the easiest and friendliest to the partner.”

When it comes to hyperscalers, “the easier you make it for partners, the easier you make it for them to onboard their clients,” Markley said.

Microsoft’s partner program is “as complex as they said,” and keeping it simpler and helping his company bring more businesses to AI “would be helpful.”

Read more about:

CP ExpoMSPsMSP 501

About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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