The Cloud As A Distribution Channel

With the emergence of public cloud computing services it's becoming increasingly clear that public cloud computing services are emerging as a new type of distribution channel. Case in point is CenturyLink, which will shortly open its own online store through which organizations can automatically deploy a variety of software on top of servers running inside CenturyLink data centers.

With the emergence of public cloud computing services it’s becoming increasingly clear that public cloud computing services are emerging as a new type of distribution channel.

Case in point is CenturyLink (CTL), which Dave Shacochis, vice president of cloud platform for CenturyLink, said will shortly open its own online store through which organizations can automatically deploy a variety of software on top of servers running inside CenturyLink data centers.

This isn’t necessarily a new idea, but it does highlight how pervasive this trend has become. Just about every cloud service provider either already has a created an online store or plans to shortly. This doesn’t mean that traditional distributors are irrelevant; solution providers still need distributors to finance deals in and out of the cloud. But the days when distributors, solution providers or even the customer need to be physically involved in deploying software are coming to a close.

In effect, cloud service providers are becoming the online version of a mall. Not every cloud service provider may be of equal size, but in terms of a shopping experience they provide solution providers with ready access to almost any type of application software or virtual appliance imaginable.

Like most cloud service providers CenturyLink is trying to establish better relationships across the channel. The cloud service provider recently made it possible for partners to customize the CenturyLink portal in addition to providing access to a Service Log through which partners can control what features on the CenturyLink cloud get exposed to their end customers.

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Shacochis said there is plenty of room in the cloud for multiple types of cloud service providers. Customers not only want options in terms of pricing, everything from the physical location of the data center to the amount of network latency that might affect application performance comes into play. In fact, Shacochis noted that network latency is one of the primary reasons applications are moving into the cloud. Many IT organizations originally built data centers in remote locations to take advantage of low real estate costs and inexpensive access to power. But as a distributed application in the cloud the most important thing often winds up being network access, which turns out is a whole lot better in hosting facilities located next to Internet Peering Exchanges.

Naturally, solution providers across the channel are making a lot of money helping organizations migrate those applications. Better still, once they make that migration there’s ample opportunity to introduce those customers to broad range of other technologies that are just now happen to be a click of a button away.


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