Computacenter will likely expand its cloud portfolio to include Google, according to chief technologist Paul Casey, who claims the move is part of the firm's multi-cloud strategy in helping customers shut their datacentres and reduce the cost of their workloads.
Casey told CRN sister publication Channelnomics Europe that Computacenter's recent announcement at becoming only one of two UK partners offering VMware on AWS is part of the firm's commitment to a multi-cloud strategy which will likely see it work with Google in the future.
"I think you will see Google part of the portfolio before too long," said Casey. "It is a matter of allowing us to do a good enough job with each of the vendors we have been focusing on before we start to bring others on.
"I really think you will see Google as well. That puts us in a position where we have great coverage across all the target destinations and it really allows us to differentiate from other people in the market. We have the capability to take them to the different cloud providers, and land them safely on the cloud provider. The key part is: we are the only partner I see that can help them shut their datacentre… Computacenter has a track record of doing this already."
Google, along with other public cloud giants Microsoft, Amazon and Alibaba, have been aggressively expanding across Europe in the last two years. Google announced plans to build eight new datacentres in October 2016, and opened a new region in the Netherlands this year. Other European VARs have recently told Channelnomics Europe that they intend to invest in the vendor in the coming years.
Casey believes that the future of the enterprise market in which Computacenter operates will see customers move to multi-cloud environments, spreading workloads across public clouds like AWS and Azure, as well as on virtualised platforms such as VMware.
Computacenter recently announced that it has become one of just two UK partners to offer VMware Cloud on AWS, giving customers the option to move applications in and out of the public cloud.
The announcement is the latest in a series of developments in Computacenter's cloud offering. The firm acquired top ServiceNow partner TeamUltra, and former UK managing director Kevin James previously told our sister publication CRN that Computacenter has built a team of 100 certified AWS technical and business consultants across the UK and Germany.
Casey said that Computacenter is now an Advanced partner of AWS, the second-highest tier in its partner programme below Premier.
The UK-based VAR has also developed some new intellectual property over the last 18 months, namely the Digital Gateway Hybrid Cloud Framework, which helps customers build a personalised cloud strategy.
However, Casey insisted that the firm's recent investments in AWS should not be misunderstood as a change of priorities for Computacenter towards a public cloud offering. Instead, the firm is looking to leverage its capabilities in VMware and AWS in tandem.
"The opportunity is not to take VMware workloads and run them out of an AWS datacentre. That is part of it, but the true opportunity is to look at what the objectives are, move some workloads from VMware to VMware on AWS, but take other workloads that don't fit that model and run them natively on AWS and connect them all in one," he said.
"I have always viewed this as more of a partnership on paper and actually, we are starting to do joint planning sessions with VMware in the room, AWS in the room and Computacenter in the room in a very friendly way. And we have started to do that with the ISVs as well - guys such as Splunk - saying ‘how does this all fit together and how can we help the customer get the right outcome?'"
Despite growing revenues by 46 per cent to $5.1bn in its last quarter, AWS has come under fire from partners in the past for favouring its direct and self-service sales strategy and failing to give the channel a real means of monetising from its public cloud offering. Meanwhile, analyst Canalys recently slammed AWS for poor channel management in a damning vendor report published last month.
But according to Casey, AWS' approach to the channel has always been "hard but fair", with the vendor demanding high revenue and technical certifications from its partners.
"It is hard to become a partner because of the way AWS works. They measure you on three things as part of your partner status. You have to go from a Registered partner to a Standard partner, then to Advanced and up to the top tier. To get through each gate you've got to hit a revenue target, you've got to hit reference and you've got to get quite tough technical certifications. It is quite hard to get up to Standard in the first place, and then it's hard to get up to Advanced. But they are very transparent," said Casey.
"We have had really good support from AWS, I have to say. It is hard, but it is hard for everybody. It's hard, but fair. They are making it hard because of their focus on the customer and their high-quality delivery of service. So they are making sure that as the partners reach each stage, they're not just ticking a box to get a partnership status. They have to invest, they have to have references. In some ways it is definitely in the interest of the customer how difficult it is to become a partner."
The chief technologist also rebuffed claims that Computacenter has taken a conservative approach to the cloud when it opted not to build its own datacentres. Casey claimed Computacenter was "probably more active than anyone else" in building private clouds for customers at the time.
"I don't think we were conservative. I just think our strategy was ‘we are not building multi-tenanted'," he said.
"Other people were more focused on selling something they already had built, and we were focused on building something for the customer. It wasn't that we were shy of cloud, we just had a different strategy from everybody else, and that has paid off in the long run. I don't have to go back and convince the CIO to empty £10m, I guess, which is what these other organisations have had to do."
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