By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor
If you followed the news out of last month's Cisco partner event in New Orleans, you won't be surprised that the message from that long-time Ingram Micro partner was all about cloud. Ralph Nimergood, VP of worldwide channels for data center, virtualization, and cloud go-to-market for Cisco (no, I didn't make that title up... ) talked almost exclusively about Cisco's cloud strategy when he took the stage at the Ingram Micro VTN Invitational on Monday, April 11.
Nimergood covered the cloud market opportunity as well as the Cisco partner go-to-market strategy tied to cloud computing. "The buzz around cloud is well founded, so we want to talk about the monetization of cloud for your business," explains Nimergood. To start the conversation, he cites a Gartner prediction that by 2015, 50% of all CIOs expect to operate the majority of their applications and infrastructure via the cloud. That number implies huge opportunity for the channel IT businesses willing to stake out a claim in the cloud and create a strategy.
How do you do that? Nimergood recommends considering your customers first and determining where they will hop on the cloud path. Some may be ready for private cloud — a path that leads through automation, consolidation, and virtualization — while others will land squarely in the public cloud. "The real opportunity right now is around assessments, consultation, and infrastructure," says Nimergood.
While you are working on those opportunities, start determining where you want to play in the cloud — cloud building, cloud provider, or cloud services reseller. "Choose your role(s) in the cloud, and make a plan," he advises. It is around those roles that Cisco has built its Cloud Partner initiative. "We want to empower our partners to choose the roles they want to play," says Nimergood. From there, Cisco is offering training and guidance to support partners trying to move quickly with a cloud strategy. His final words of advice? "Understand, select, and commit to your cloud role(s)."