During the Parallels Summit in Miami, CEO Serguei Beloussov described how hosting providers can focus on small customers and stay ahead of Amazon.com, Apple, Google and Microsoft in the cloud. But how can service providers move more customers into the cloud? Here's a recap of Beloussov's keynote.

"Cloud is just perfect for small business," said Beloussov. "It's simple, with no up-front costs, cheap, flexible and reliable."

Still, he conceded that the threat of giants -- Amazon.com, Apple, Google and Microsoft -- in the cloud market is real. "While not immediate is huge," he told several hundred attendees.

To compete in the cloud, Beloussov says solutions providers and hosting providers have to offer "full-fledged IT services." He compared the cloud market to the hotel industry, where there are basic hotels and full-service hotels.

Giants like Microsoft are like hotels that only offer a room and a bed -- similar to really basic cloud services, he said. But it will be at least three years before the cloud giants offer full-fledged IT services -- similar to a hotel introducing spa treatments, broadband, video on demand and other value-add options that keep customers loyal, he added.

"The opportunities are real. Amazon now generates multi-hundred millions of dollars in revenue from Amazon Web services," said Beloussov. "But you have stay ahead of the innovation curve, and keep optimizing for growth."

With the small business market in mind, Parallels is pointing solutions providers to several potential hosting and application partners. They include The Planet, Softlayer, Softcom, Codero, Layershift, ServInt, Arsys, Network Group Europe and Host Europe.

The VAR Guy over the next 48 hours will be navigating the Parallels Summit for more small business cloud tips. Stay tuned.