Big Trends, Bigger Opportunities–Understand What It Takes to Be a Leader in the Cloud – WPC 2012

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In the second afternoon session of the hosting and cloud track of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, a panel discussed the larger trends and opportunities of the cloud market.

The panel was moderated by Darren Bibby, VP of software partnering research at IDC, who was joined by James Henigan, director of products and IT services at Rise, Christopher Rajiah, VP of worldwide channel sales for Rackspace Hosting, Chris Gatch, CTO of Cbeyond, and Aaron Hollobaugh, and VP of marketing at Hostway.

Bibby started the presentation with some key statistics regarding the explosive growth of the cloud computing market, including an estimated $36 billion to be spent on cloud-delivered IT by 2015.

Spending on SaaS, in particular, is projected to grow by 105 percent from 2011 to 2015.

Bibby began the panel discussion by asking each panel member about their company’s own sales and marketing strategy for cloud computing. Hollobaugh said that the cloud enables Hostway to tailor each cloud solution to the specific needs of each customer in a cost effective manner for scalability.

Hostway tries to maintain a strong level of patience regarding the direction of the market, allowing its customers to dictate where the cloud is going, and not the other way around, says Hollobaugh.

When asked what are some of the growing areas of workloads customers are moving into the cloud, Rajiah said that web apps, collaboration tools, and test/dev are all emerging markets within the cloud.

Hollobaugh says that mission-critical apps, databases, and back-office apps are all growing workloads that customers are moving into the cloud.

Migration services, cloud university, and the recently-launched partner council are all ways that Rackspace is helping to educate customers about the cloud, says Rajiah.

Hollobaugh says that educating about the cloud has shifted from the common question of “why should I move to the cloud” to “how can I move to the cloud”.

Rajiah discussed how Rackspace’s partner program network, partner marketplace, alliance program, and professional services all help to aid cloud partners achieve success.

When one audience member asked why would a provider want to partner with a smaller hosting company when they could partner with an Amazon, Hennigan says want partners want to work with a local provider that can offer better support.

Talk back: Do you agree with these trends and opportunities in the cloud? Let us know in the comments.

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