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Two solution providers tap into bring-your-own-cloud trend

Softchoice and Dimension Data Canada have built their own cloud offerings instead of just hopping aboard clouds already out there from the likes of Microsoft or Amazon

More solution providers are bringing their own clouds to the table to tap into the Bring your own Cloud (BYOC) trend.

Dimension Data and Softchoice have both launched their own cloudportals to offer one-stop shopping for organization looking to get ontothe cloud.

Toronto-based Softchoice isoffering up Softchoice Cloud Portal, a secure online service wherebusinesses and organization can buy and deploy cloud services, plusalso find tools to manage and support them. It features a cloud storeto research and purchase cloud applications, a management console forcentrally managing the deployment of SaaS applications, built-in ROIreporting and live support services around the clock.

Although the Softchoice Cloud Portal is designed to support over 1,300SaaS applications, users can also add other SaaS applications they’realready using to the portal.

“We’re giving organizations a secure and reliable way to harness thegrowing power of the cloud. At the same time…we’re also giving thevendor community an efficient way to get their technology into thehands of new customers,” said president and CEO David MacDonald.

The portal is meant to be one centralized stop for all cloud-basedneeds: one place for buying cloud services, one password to accesscloud apps, one platform to manage users and applications, one team forplanning and deploying SaaS services, and one help desk number forsupport. It’s aimed at meeting the growing demand for bring your owncloud (BYOC) services. With BYOC, instead of just tapping into cloudsoffered by giants like Amazon or Microsoft, solution providers buildtheir own clouds, then use it to offer various SaaS services so theirpartners and customers can in turn create their own customized cloudofferings.

“What we’re really doing here is putting this into the market at a timewhen BYOC is a big topic. The timing, we think, is just perfect,” saidSoftchoice CIO Kevin Wright.

The Softchoice portal service will be priced at $6 per month per user,Wright said, and aimed at organizations with 500 or more employees.

“We sell lots of SaaS to small businesses but the (portal) serviceoffering may be a little much for a smaller company,” Wright said.

Why did Softchoice create its own cloud portal instead of justleveraging an existing one courtesy of a bigger player like Amazon orMicrosoft?

“We actually do have partnerships with both those vendors. (But) we have not built a data centre. There are too many monstrous companies that make telcos look small. Take this front end and create an access, support and integration layer with all those different clouds,” Wright said.

Going with its own cloud portal also opens up more possibilities forthe channel, he added.

“From a channel perspective as a reseller, there are three or foursoftware vendors out there. This opens us up to thousands of vendorsthat are popping up every day. We have 30 partnerships signed up now.We’ll have 50 to 60 by the end of the year,” Wright said.

New York-based Dimension Data has launched itsOneCloud Partner Program, aimed at helping service providers,educational institutions, government agencies and other organizationsbring new cloud services to market faster. The move follows theFebruary launch of its Provider Compute-as-a-Service (CaaS) offering,which gives providers a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) theycan market under their own brand.

The new OneCloud Partner Program gives providers the marketing andsales tools they need to get their own cloud businesses to marketfaster, in a timeline as short as 12 to 16 weeks. Providers can alsotake advantage of Dimension Data’s Managed Cloud Platform, apre-integrated, fully managed cloud offering that can be customized forsize and type of cloud service (public, private or hybrid) as needed.Partners that attain Alliance Member status can also access DimensionData’s Cloud Exchange, a forum where cloud providers can exchange cloudtraffic on-demand.

“We recognized one of our larger market segments is service providers.They’re asking us to make available to them our cloud servicesportfolio and IP. So we’ve built a program to do just that … to enableservice providers and communities to take to market their own cloudofferings powered by our own cloud services infrastructure,” said WesJohnston, COO of Dimension Data for the Americas region.

“We’re very excited about this in the Canadian market specifically,”said Darryl Wilson, Dimension Data’s Mississauga, Ont.-based areapractice director for Canada.

“We’re hearing a lot from our tier two service providers. Our programprovides them with a great differentiator to compete against the tierone service providers, for example,” Wilson said.

Smaller businesses are expected to be a sizable market for the OneCloud Partner Program, Johnston added, especially since education,government and financial institutions specifically will be allowed todeliver “community” clouds that can be shared and customized as needed.

“That’s a big part of the focus. The service and community providers,their downstream clients in many cases are likely to be smallbusinesses. This extends a whole new market for us through the serviceprovider channel” beyond larger enterprise, Johnston said.

Neither Dimension Data nor Softchoice said they’re interested inopening their new cloud offerings up to competing solutions providers.

“We have no interest in empowering our competitors with our solutions,”said Dimension Data’s Johnston.