Cloud enablement

Clouds Roll In Over Wholesale

4:05 PM -- Much of the hype around cloud has focused on the retail market. But as cloud services mature, we're seeing increasing interest in wholesale services and a lot of competition in that space, as well. Companies such as CHR Solutions Inc. and Parallels Inc. have been offering cloud services for smaller telcos to resell for some time. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s wholesale operation, cleverly named Verizon Global Wholesale, is in this market as well, and has been beefed up with the inclusion of the Verizon Terremark Enterprise Cloud offer.

CornerStone Telephone Company , a CLEC providing business services in New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, this week announced its use of Verizon's wholesale cloud services. CornerStone was early to the cloud market -- it has offered hosted desktop and hosted Exchange services for years -- but turned to white labeling Terremark services in order to have a more robust service than it could otherwise offer. (See Small Telcos Can Get Cloud Boost.)

"They can do it correctly in the right scale," says Don Walsh, CTO of CornerStone. He finds that, as cloud has matured, customers need less convincing but are expecting more.

"Our competition used to be the local IT guy; he was the one we had to convince," Walsh says. Otherwise that local IT guy, whether on staff or an outside support person, would convince the customer not to use hosted or cloud services. Today, companies aren't deciding whether to move into the cloud, but whose cloud to choose -- and having the best cloud service is more important.

The U.S. wholesale market is also seeing new competitors. U.K.-based intY Ltd. , a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider and longtime Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) partner, announced global availability of its Cascade platform, which aggregates cloud services for resellers, service providers and others to sell on a retail basis to enterprises. (See UK Cloud Wholesaler Goes Global.)

Its approach with Cascade is a bit different. It's basically a distribution layer that gives ISPs, value-added resellers and others easy access to a broad range of IT apps, many from Microsoft, that they can then package and deliver to enterprises and SMBs, says Mark Herbert, intY's business development director. By working with an established SaaS player, service providers get ready access to what they need to offer, without creating their own infrastructure well ahead of any revenues.

I wouldn't be surprised to see many other players also try to wholesale their cloud products more aggressively. For ISPs, telcos and cable companies looking for new broadband revenues, cloud services are a no-brainer, and being able to deliver them with much lower risk has great appeal. — Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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