Managing the Sprawl of Cloud Computing

Solution providers are getting nervous about their future in a world dominated by cloud computing services that, in many cases, won't need a middleman. Perhaps the opportunity for solution providers isn't in selling the cloud, but rather managing the mass of clouds on clients' behalf.

You can't open a browser without hitting some report on cloud computing. Every vendor-IBM, Microsoft, Google, HP, Cisco, Dell-either has or is launching a cloud computing initiative, which promises to deliver applications directly to users via the Internet. And that, frankly, has many solution providers nervous.

Cloud computing has the potential for revolutionizing the way we deliver and consume technology. It's equally disruptive to the current model of selling, delivering and supporting IT hardware and software. If a vendor, such as Microsoft or Google, can automate the delivery of e-mail and basically configure a deployment with little human interaction, what need is there for a VAR in the middle?

To listen to all the chatter about cloud computing would have you believe that there will be one monolithic cloud through which all services are rendered. Nothing could be further from the truth. The future of cloud computing will actually look like a storm front with multiple clouds. In fact, the opportunity for solution providers may come in the form of understanding and being able to manage that storm front on behalf of clients. Here's why.

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