Three ways solution providers can take advantage of the hybrid cloud market

cloud in your hand(Editor’s note: contributed blogs like this are part of’s annual sponsorship program. Find out more here. This article was authored by Alex Ryals, director of solution development at Avnet Technology Solutions.)

It’s no surprise that today’s enterprise IT manager is making their journey to the cloud and hybrid IT a high-priority boardroom discussion. But where are you in this journey? What’s the right path for you and your business? A recent Tech Target white paper has outlined a few ways you can get started in your journey as a solution provider to best help your customers in their adoption of the hybrid cloud. Below, you’ll find more information on the opportunity and market size and learn how you can take advantage of the growing market.

Opportunity and Market Size

In the fast-growing and opportunity-rich market for cloud computing, many value-added resellers (VARs) and solution providers are reaping the benefits from meeting customers’ needs with hybrid cloud solutions. This segment is both large and fast-growing: Research firm TechNavio projects the global hybrid cloud market will exceed $79 billion by 2018, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 30%.1

Hybrid cloud computing holds several important advantages—both actual and perceived—over public cloud and private cloud architectures deployed independently. Public cloud, while seen as an easy and affordable way for organizations to move to the cloud, is perceived to be more susceptible to security breaches and privacy concerns.

Private cloud, although considered to offer more robust defenses against security problems, can be more expensive to implement and manage, especially for organizations with IT staff constraints. Hybrid cloud combines the best of public and private cloud in several ways. The most significant advantage of hybrid cloud computing is the enhanced flexibility it gives organizations to use affordable public clouds for Tier 2 applications and workloads, while also using a private cloud for more strategic applications and more demanding workloads. Hybrid cloud also is considered a reflection of how most organizations’ IT architectures actually are set up, combining on-premise infrastructure with co-located or fully outsourced infrastructure.

“The thing to keep in mind about hybrid cloud computing is that most organizations rely upon a mix of internal and external IT resources, including a mix of different types of cloud services,” according to Jeff Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies, a consulting organization that specializes in cloud computing. “The business world itself is a hybrid place, and hybrid cloud environments are going to be very likely for 99% of organizations that want to take advantage of what the cloud can offer.”

In short, hybrid cloud computing gives organizations the flexibility to run their IT workloads in the manner that is most appropriate for their budgets, staff resources, business stakeholders’ demands, performance requirements, availability needs and long-term growth plans.

For VARs and other solution providers, there are numerous ways to participate in the hybrid cloud market:

  • A solution provider can act as a turnkey system integrator, or a Cloud Builder, not only setting up the hybrid infrastructure but also managing it on an ongoing basis for customers.
  • VARs that are already providing much of the on-premise infrastructure, or Cloud Providers, can profit by adding cloud connectivity infrastructure, as well as systems design/consulting, systems monitoring and cloud-based applications and services.
  • A VAR can specialize in certain aspects of the hybrid cloud value chain, such as hosting virtual infrastructure for customers, developing applications specifically for the cloud or acting as an “agent” or Cloud Reseller on behalf of larger cloud service providers that may want access to the local VARs’ customer relationships.

VARs can provide the support, infrastructure and applications that are required to make cloud solutions effective in an enterprise setting. For instance, any cloud deployment needs to integrate with a software license management system to track OS and application licenses as they are deployed and undeployed in a cloud context. Customers also need to integrate their cloud with a robust change management system so the very act of cloud workload deployment is authorized and approved. Finally, cloud customers need to ensure the deployed cloud workloads are automatically integrated into the enterprise monitoring system so critical application outages are detected immediately after the workload goes live.

Technology Ideas Results

Regardless of the role a solution provider may choose for itself, there are several things to keep in mind when mapping out a strategy for participating in, and profiting from, the growing prevalence of hybrid cloud computing. In the coming weeks, I will be featuring key parts of the Tech Target white paper on the Avnet Advantage Blog including: Business Drivers and Customer Challenges, the Key Solution Components of cloud computing solutions, How You Can Meet Customers’ Expectations and Questions to Ask as a solution provider when getting started.

Can’t wait until then? Download the full white paper for free here: Leveraging Business Opportunities for Hybrid Cloud Solutions.

1 “Global Hybrid Cloud Market 2014-2018,” TechNavio, April 25, 2014.