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Nitin Mishra (Global) - Partner Ecosystems: Shaping the Future of Cloud Computing Part 3

Stakeholders in the cloud ‘partner ecosystem'

As per cloud times, a wide set of players are converging on the cloud partner ecosystems, including:

1. Web and cloud masters
2. Virtualization and automation software specialists
3. Enterprise software specialists
4. Pure-play ISVs
5. System integrators
6. Service providers
7. Equipment makers in the computing, PC, handset/device, and network equipment spaces
8. Web VAPs
9. Aggregators

These partners combine to provide not just cloud technology support, but also services like sales enablement, demand generation, joint marketing events, go-to-market services.

Partners in the ecosystem may also bundle and cross-sell each other's offerings. For instance, a technology vendor may sell the services of a systems integrator. It may use its own channel for this purpose. Apart from using or selling each other's products the partners might also go in for a revenue sharing arrangement for the product or service that's delivered as a whole to the customer.

An example is VMware. The virtualization technology pioneer works with service providers and has established its own partner program called VMware Service Provider Program (VSSP). It is positioning VSSP as a framework that allows service and hosting providers to consume VMware virtualization solutions in a way that aligns with their business model. Global Alliance Partners integrate their hardware and software with VMware technology, support their products running on VMware virtual machines and co-sell and/or resell VMware products. Cisco, AMD, Fujitsu, IBM, HP are few companies to name among VMware's global alliance partners.

Ultimately, these types of partner arrangements are win-win for all entities in the ecosystem as some may not have the expertise in selling, or lack skilled manpower for L2 and L3 support. Such arrangements can also reduce their Capex drastically.

Despite the heterogeneity, the accountability isn't lost

Despite the fact that several heterogeneous service and technology providers come together to participate in a partner ecosystem for providing a one-point cloud solution, the accountability towards the customer isn't lost. One of the partners becomes the single point of accountability and is responsible for quality of service and support for the customer. That means this partner is also liable for the performance issues of the products or services from other partners.

While this seems an onerous task given that one single partner has to manage the delivery responsibilities of other partners in the ecosystem, the life for the client-facing partner is made easy by the strong agreements and relationships that exist between partners. The ecosystem always works with a backup plan, and that take care of the accountability part.

Companies like Netmagic Solutions work closely with application providers (ISVs), technology partners and system integrators (SI's)to form a cloud ecosystem that simplifies a customer's first step on to the cloud.

In an ecosystem of partners one of the players becomes the single point of accountability who is responsible for quality of service and support for the customer. That means he is also liable for the performance issues of the products or services from other partners. The key partner in the ecosystem manages this and backs it with stringent SLAs.In the ecosystem you need the virtualization fabric. You also need compute and storage fabrics. And you need a service provider who can tie all that together.

This concludes the third part of our four-part series on partner ecosystems in cloud computing. In the fourth and concluding part of this series, we will gaze at the future of partner ecosystems, and see where the future lies for the stakeholders.

By Nitin Mishra, vp product management & solutions engineering, Netmagic Solutions

- Read part 1
- Read part 2

- Read part 4

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