It’s almost 2013 and I can’t believe I am still reading news stories, articles and blogs making the argument for cloud computing, the benefits and efficiencies realized and even debates akin to religious fanatics debating between the pros and cons of public clouds vs. private clouds, and oh yeah, the hybrid model as well.

It seems like for the last three years every research organization has been declaring it "the year of the cloud" -- the time organizations finally jump on the bandwagon and adopt a cloud computing environment, moving their enterprise application distribution, data storage and back-up, network monitoring and infrastructure services to the cloud.

Well, nearly every company I come in contact with is already there in some way, shape or form. Some don’t even know it. That’s part of the problem. Managed services, hosting, virtualization, data storage and sharing, mobile downloads and integration, e-commerce and so on and so on are all taking place in what is considered “the cloud.” Cloud computing touches nearly every phase of IT operations and deployment in some way.

I’ve said it before: It is time to stop playing semantics as to whether your company is operating in a public or private cloud environment. The odds are if you have a smartphone or tablet you are already accessing both and don’t realize it. Solution providers get this and are knee-deep in providing cloud services to their customers and see it as the No. one revenue opportunity for 2013.

Oli Thordarson, president of Alvaka Networks, a managed services and networking provider in Irvine, Calif., said cloud migration services is the biggest growth area going forward for the channel. In fact, he said, “People are overestimating the impact [of cloud migration services] in the short term, but will underestimate the impact in the long term.” In other words, it’s here and it’s the future and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

Brian Okun, director of Sales at Prevalent Networks an IT consultancy in Warren, N.J., said he too believes organizations don’t really comprehend the full impact moving to a cloud environment will ultimately have, which creates consulting, education and service opportunities for solution providers. “Most organizations don’t realize the need, complexity or cost potentially involved in most cloud migrations,” he said. Again, here is where the channel plays a critical role.

Raffi Jamgotchian, president of Triada Networks, a Northvale, N.J.-based solution provider and consultancy, said moving to the cloud really isn’t an option anymore for organizations but they don’t do the due diligence needed and try to handle it all themselves with Microsoft365 or Rackspace. But it isn't as simple as it seems, so therefore “we will see some pullback and IT companies come in and fix the failed or flawed migrations.”

All agree that migrating is not an option anymore for companies needing to stay competitive and solution providers are the critical component for a successful cloud migration strategy. So stop splitting hairs.

Knock em alive!