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The Sky's the Limit When It Comes to Cloud Opportunity

We have been talking about the cloud for some time and have probably used every catchy, creative term to describe it. Over this past year it has emerged beyond the hype to become a very real thing and probably the biggest IT transformation we’ve seen.

The cloud also has managed to cause some consternation within the channel and brought about major change, which is forcing all members of the IT ecosystem to re-examine classic roles, experiment with new business models and uncover new ways to monetize these business models. Over the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to meet with several of our partners across the globe and I’m consistently impressed by the channel’s ability to embrace this transition and in some cases, even finding unique ways to unearth new opportunities.

As with any period of transformation, people are seeking ways to make things more efficient, easier and just plain better -- and the result is a disruptive technology that radically changes the way we do things. Behind these inventors and visionaries, there are smart businesspeople who are looking for ways to capitalize on these new technologies … and that’s where the channel sits. Just look at how the Internet changed the way we consume news and information, to the extent that it has given way to other modes of communication and has even rendered hard-copy (nearly) anything obsolete. Same thing with DVR technology: If people can just skip through commercials, advertisers must come up with a new way to promote their goods and services. These are classic examples of disruptive technologies that have impacted the status quo (for better or worse, depending on which side of the fence you sit on).

In many ways, cloud is the same thing. And just like the Internet or DVR technology, someone will find a way to repeatedly derive business value from it. From my perspective, I think the channel is well-poised to reap the benefits of cloud. While it’s anybody’s guess what the end state will be, the channel has consistently shown an amazing ability to adapt to change. The channel’s proximity to the end customer and its inherent technology smarts is what’s going to help it come out on top. As I write this, I am reminded of a conversation I recently had with a Brocade Alliance Partner Network (APN) partner. We were talking about cloud and how the current state of uncertainty within the channel was giving way to a renewed feeling of optimism and opportunity. “When it comes to the channel in the era of cloud, the sky’s the limit,” he said. And I’d have to agree.

Raelyn Kritzer is Brocade’s Director of Global Channel Marketing and a regular contributor to Brocade’s Guest Blog on The VAR Guy. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual platinum sponsorship. Reach Kritzer at

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