Public cloud providers such as Microsoft and Amazon "will not be the only answer" for customers in the future, according to Atea CEO Steinar Sønsteby.
The Atea CEO used his keynote at CRN's European Channel Leadership Forum event in London to hit back at market predictions from IDC and warn against exaggerating the dominance of AWS and other public cloud companies.
"When people come and tell me that IDC says the market is growing by only three per cent - that's not true. How many people think the market is growing faster than three per cent? The market is growing much faster; but they are not capturing it," he told delegates.
"I don't believe there is only one answer and only one winner. I don't believe that Amazon will take it all or that public cloud will take it all."
"To me, it is a hybrid model, and a changing model. The difference, though, is the speed of the change and, when trying to predict something, it would be much easier to predict if there was only one winner. But there is not going to be one winner. It is not going to be Amazon and then Microsoft, it's not going to happen."
Sønsteby has often been an outspoken critic of IDC figures in misrepresenting the health of the IT industry. He went on to suggest that public cloud is "nothing to be scared of" and resellers will benefit from higher on-prem server sales as a result of burgeoning growth from the likes of AWS.
"I don't know of any public cloud customer that we have, that doesn't buy servers on-prem," he said.
"I am not saying that public cloud isn't going to grow, but 10 years ago I said public cloud is going to take a long time and people thought I was crazy. It has taken a long time, but it is coming - of course it is - but it is add on and it is nothing to be scared of."
Sønsteby also took the opportunity to poke fun at the hyperbole from analysts predicting the decline of the PC market.
"The PC died a few years ago didn't it? I hope they say that for every category we have, because it's never grown as fast as after they said the PC is going away."
The Atea CEO however also provided a note of caution against investing too many resources into unproven "future" technologies, suggesting that channel partners should "play with it" but not go as far as imbedding them into business models.
"We are saying play with it. When I say play with it, I mean figure it out. Go and talk to your business vendors, travel, spend some time talking to others," he said.
"And there should be no one hired specifically to do this. Depending on what you're going to play with, they're taking from their organisation - they're nominated. They might be sales people or consultants who get three months to look at something."
"Don't invest in putting it into your business model, but figure it out, talk to people and figure out which vendors are doing it."
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