RIS Q1: Please give us the high-level
view of CloudFX service's and business model?
provide consulting in all aspects of virtualization and cloud services to
Enterprises, Service Providers, and to Channel Partners. For Enterprises, and
Service Providers we specialize in mapping the value chain - helping companies
achieving cost reductions through virtualization where SLA's are not well
defined, and applying innovation and new services,' says Damian.
goes on, 'Virtualization and Cloud are the most transformative technologies of
the last 20 years and represent the only way to drive capital and operating
expense savings, whilst reducing IT complexity and promoting business agility.
However, objectivity can only be achieved by operating independently from
vendors, and this ensures we make recommendations that are always in our
customers' best interests. Our integrity and operating principles will never be
compromised by selling any vendors' hardware.'
are increasingly becoming more ROI savvy, and appreciate external consultancy
to validate vendors such as Cisco, EMC, and HP's cloud claims. CloudFX holds
intellectual property for cloud architecture and design; and can apply this to
independently "check" the claims of the vendors, providing independent
validation of value gains. CloudFX consults on the proactive application of
technology, while considering the orchestration, management, and automation of
cloud environments using tools such as Microsoft HyperV and Citrix Zen server.
This is the application of technology suitability in the evolving world of
mobile users and BYOD. Lastly, CloudFX consults with traditional Channel
Partners to assist and consult in the evolution of their cloud services to
their clients, as part of the CloudFX partner ecosystem.
RIS Q2: What are the major
dynamics having such an impact on the concept of cloud services?
are a number of fundamental changes which have occurred in recent years that
have conspired to create the cloud story as we know it today. There are many
ways to group these, but simply they can be categorized as follows:
- Development tools for fast, simple interfaces
on mobile devices are now providing for workable business applications, and
access to business data. Mobile devices are available with huge memory and
processing power, but also the web-based applications enable easy porting of
applications. 2013 shows -- 80% of apps development is now happening for the
cloud mobile environment, only 20% for legacy desktop platforms.
- Virtualization for servers (also for clients:-
mobile or desktop) now means datacenters can be massively scaled for a
proportionally lower price point. This is achieved by both more efficient
server utilization, and also the cost benefits of PUE (Power Usage
Effectiveness). Couple this with infrastructure advantages (covered below),
means hosted datacenters can ensure fast response times, with an all-round
easier user experience (for example no waiting for application upgrades).
- Wireless everywhere via cellular, Wi-Fi, and private
networks means business applications access is pervasive. This was originally
email, etc., but corporate services and applications are now usable remotely
for a massive number of business critical applications.
- Cheap, secure, outsourced storage removes the
cost constraints of Enterprises' building infrastructure to store data.
- Security, while a constantly evolving
challenge, is a fact of life we all live with; and ultimately user demands and
business requirements will ensure the evolution of security solutions will keep
pace with business behavior.
practices and social changes:
- BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) -- 'The BYOD
environment is being driven by the cloud' says Damian. Employees are seeing
sophisticated social applications being used on smart devices, and expect
business applications to be as easily usable in the same environment.
- Mobility/time utilization is also interrelated.
'Staff can be as productive having a meeting in a coffee-shop as sat at their
desks. The change is that "coffee-shop" conversations can now be assisted with
online mobile devices connected to the business applications so actions can be
executed upon real-time.'
- 'Cloud analytics are increasingly sophisticated
providing preemptive analytics, and highly automated adaptive services. Meaning
the end-user experience can be adjusted as required by the service usage.
Moreover, data derived from user behavior can be used to predict computing
capacity requirements, such as payment systems spikes for on-line or
traditional media advertising campaigns; or staffing requirements for food
delivery services linked to televising of major sporting events (sending out
for pizza during the big game),' says Chris.
RIS Q3: What do customers
our customers want a price advantage with more agility for business processes.'
Claims Damian. Cloud is getting a lot of press at the moment, and many of our
clients are simply looking for impartial, expert advise on how to apply the
cloud concept to core business necessities like maximizing cost efficiencies
and gaining competitive advantage.' Two recent examples were with Indosat and
Softbank. 'In both cases we were able to assist a reduction in Opex and Capex
while providing improved mobile data services and applications to consumers. Revenues
from Telco's cellular services have plateaued, while fixed line revenue are
reducing. In this case, the solution CloudFX have provided for a framework to
push data services to mobile devices (and so charging for the service) in-order
to accelerated ROI on sunk-cost infrastructure, while providing a
differentiated service delivery model creating incremental revenue streams.'
suggest it's important to delineate between Infrastructure and Applications as
clients consider cloud services. 'The value savings are far greater on the
Application side, and it's important to establish which platform is right for
each customer' says Chris, an example is SAP's Hana, - usage is fast growing
and a Hana incident can be as low as 99 cents per day.
RIS Q4: What does CloudFX see
as the biggest obstacle to cloud evolution?
says 'we see several challenges for Enterprises wishing to move to cloud
environments. A willingness to embrace change is one factor. CloudFX sees the
American market is probably 3-5 years more advanced in the process of
virtualization, the first steps in evolving a cloud model, than the majority of
Enterprises in Asia. There is also an element of the 'tail wagging the dog' as
customers may put too much weight on listening to vendors. There needs to be
transparency in the agenda.'
frequently see clients where the IT department is the impediment to business
innovation. This is particularly evident as business process cost centers are
moved from the IT departments to the line-of-business functions. The trick is
to map the value-chain; if not, cloud services are costly and out of sync' with
the business requirement' says Damian.
is a valid concern, but regardless of Public, Private or Hybrid cloud
environments, the security policy is as critical in the cloud as for data not
in the cloud. ISO 2701 sets security standards and it's important for
Enterprises' to engage Channel Partners (including consultants) who understand
Asia we think of the virtualization market as being the "on-ramp" to public
cloud.' CloudFX believes 70% of storage will be procured through the public
cloud by 2015, so lax security comes with heavy penalties. Government
regulation also needs to be informed. Singapore sees itself as 86%
'virtualized', but 8.6% is probably nearer the mark for 2013 on account of
Government regulation regarding sovereign data security (keeping data on-shore)
and inherent concerns from users regarding data protection.
compelling shift forcing Enterprises to address security is BYOD management.
Management of user's devices is being driven by cloud services. There is a
rapidly evolving community of MDM (Mobile Device Management) vendors, and the
choice for MDM products from both the Service Providers, and directly from vendors
is improving exponentially. This greatly assists in supporting Corporate and
Government security policies with 'user evolving' work practices.
are another concern. Human Recourses consultancies estimate there will be in
the order of 2.7m job vacancies in the cloud space by 2015. The exciting news
is the opportunity this presents for IT professionals, but this can also be an
inhibitor to market growth.
RIS Q5: CloudFX consults for
traditional Channel Partners who already are, or want to offer a cloud service,
what aspect of cloud do you see as having the largest impact on the traditional
creates stress on the Channel Partners both in terms of cash-flow pressure and
profit. Virtualization ultimately means IT infrastructure can be used more
efficient. This naturally means a slowing of infrastructure sales. Fewer or
more consolidated servers, and more efficient networks, means traditional
Channel Partners who built business selling predominantly hardware will find
their markets shrinking due to more applications being hosted in the cloud, and
more data stored in the cloud.
software vendors traditionally selling licenses through the channel can now
simply offer these applications as SaaS directly. The Channel Partners are then
largely cut-out of this revenue opportunity too. Other aspects of integration
and services such as OSS (Operations Support Services) and BSS (Business
Support Services) integration, a service formerly provided by traditional
channels will likely transition from legacy System Integrators and Solution
Providers to the Cloud Service Providers.
has experienced phenomenal growth-rates for their service. This shows the
hunger in the market for cloud specialists. Traditional Channel Partners
capable of providing this either by building the skills themselves or engaging
companies like CloudFX will benefit.
Partners who embrace these changes will succeed. Reselling other datacenter
hosting vendor's services as a sell-through can replace the shortfall in direct
server sales. Selling services around consulting, implementation and training
are where money can be made in the SaaS environment. Large SaaS vendors can
charge users directly for their applications usage on-line; however, they still
struggle to deliver implementation and maintenance services directly, so this
is where they need a Channel Partner ecosystem.
claims, 'there is not enough expertise and specialization in the channel which
is why many come to CloudFX, who, with 45 consultants are able to build a 1,000
line statement of work within one week, rapidly simplify the "how to" vs. the
"what and the why". This helps remove risk for Channel Partners and Enterprise
customers alike. CEO's of Channel Partners are faced with several decision
points. Public cloud is transformative, whereas Private cloud is consultative
and the vendors price points are not always clear, meaning the non-specialized
Channel Partners are not well equipped to provide services around a cloud value
RIS Q6: Looking forwards, what
cloud predictions would you dare make?
term cloud may evolve or dissipate over time, but the concepts are solid and
the business model is here to stay. Service Providers just aren't evolving fast
enough -- and given that so many Service Providers are selling tablets and
smart-phones, and access, it's logical they become cloud channel also providing
richer services' Claims Damian.
many Cloud Service Providers are building or offering datacenters services
(sometimes white labeled from other suppliers). But just datacenters and hosted
storage in their own rights are not a compelling business based on ROI but more
of a means to an end. As applications are increasingly being charged per user,
or per user instance, and by storage capacity; offering the processing and
storage service enables the upsell of other, more lucrative, services. Key processes like Service Asset and Configuration
Management (SACM), Financial Management, etc. will evolve across workflows, and
can be charged for accordingly. SACM will become of utmost importance, along
with IT security and demand management processes - now charging is based on
consumption, one of the key benefits of Cloud Computing.'
Channel Partners will aggressively scale to build cloud services, or
specializations in cloud competencies, those which don't will struggle to
survive in the long-run' predicts Chris.
assist here CloudFX has an ecosystem of partners including a sister company:
App-FX, focused on the helping customers with the "modernization" of their
applications leveraging tools such as Tomcat "Ruby-on-Rails", and Spring. This
enables CloudFX clients to take the consulting advice and then tangibly evolve
their business applications. Moreover, CloudFX partner with 6Fusion for a cloud
billing, metering, and Charge-back service, and Gravitant, a cloud service
broker. Damian goes on: 'there's a market place to now broker RSS feeds at
volume and price scale, and so we expect to see the market emerge on the back of
undoubtedly, cloud technology will see waves of new players and acquisitions.
SoftLayer were recently bought by IBM, Dell acquired Enstratius, and HP, Google
and Amazon are also being acquisitive. We expect to see considerably more
infrastructure management and application services being developed with the
corresponding expansion and acquisitions of the best technology by the
established cloud providers, in order to consolidate their positions.
For more information, please contact: Damian
and Chris from CloudFX can be contacted via www.cloudFX.com
This has led to the creation of a "RIS-Report" where the RIS investigates and
profiles the major Cloud Channel Partners across Asia-Pacific. To buy this
report from RIS please go to www.rishk.net or
mail us on email@example.com.
RIS uses the term "Service Provider" to define a particular Channel Partner
classification. These are business such as Telecommunications companies
(Telco's), Service Providers and Carriers, who's traditional and major revenue
source is the provision of telecom's services such as voice and data
communications; and own/lease the associated infrastructure needed for the
provision of such services.
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