Managed Services and Cloud Computing: Ingram Micro Blurs the Line

The second-annual Ingram Micro Cloud Summit is set to start later today (June 1) in Phoenix, Ariz. But if you take a closer look you'll discover that the event was spun off from another annual gathering involving Ingram Micro Seismic MSPs. So what's the difference between Ingram Micro Cloud and Ingram Micro Seismic? Less and less. Here's why.

Ingram launched Seismic to help VARs and aspiring MSPs pursue recurring revenue opportunities. Initially, those opportunities involved remote PC and server management. But gradually, Seismic gained cloud-related services like online backup, disaster recovery and hosted email. By September 2010, Renee Bergeron arrived as VP of managed services and cloud computing. And by November 2010, Bergeron unveiled the Ingram Micro Cloud portal -- which features numerous third-party SaaS and cloud solutions for VARs and MSPs.

I suspect dozens of Ingram Micro Seismic partners will attend this week's Ingram Micro Cloud Summit. And gradually, I think the line between Seismic managed services and Ingram's cloud push will disappear. Ultimately, we'll be blogging about VARs and MSPs pursuing cloud opportunities, even as they continue to manage customers' on-premise equipment.

Still, the blurring of managed services and cloud computing doesn't mean the end of MSPs. By most estimates, the managed services market continues to grow at least 20 percent annually. And generally speaking, cloud vendors are opening their arms to MSPs -- because MSPs are already experts on recurring revenue business models.

Ingram's Bergeron is set to keynote the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit the morning of June 1. I think roughly 300 VARs and MSPs -- plus about 100 vendor representatives -- will be on hand for the keynote. By the end of the keynote, I suspect the line between managed services and cloud computing will further blur. Bottom line: The shift to recurring revenue continues to accelerate.

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