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When the cloud goes out, the phone is going to ring.
But with the number of solution providers offering integrated solutions from various cloud vendors exploding, the question of whose phone rings when the cloud goes down, or suffers a glitch, is pressing. And for VARs and vendors alike, who provides the first line of support for cloud computing environments becomes an urgent concern.
Cloud support has come under a microscope and has become a major differentiator for cloud vendors and solution providers. Earlier this year, cloud pioneer Amazon Web Services launched a host of new cloud support options after being faulted for not making adequate support available. With the new cloud support options, Amazon guaranteed faster response times and launched a Platinum cloud support package aimed at the enterprise which costs 10 percent of AWS usage with a $15,000 monthly minimum, which gets users access to a Technical Account Manager (TAM) and swifter response times. A new Bronze cloud support level is aimed at individual developers for $49 per month. At the time, AWS also slashed prices for its Silver and Gold cloud support plans and promised swifter response times.
At the same time, other cloud mainstays, like Rackspace Hosting, have highlighted their cloud support options as what separates them from the rest of the increasingly crowded cloud pack. For Rackspace, the mantra is "fanatical support."
Cloud support is a high priority for end customers, as it is there to ensure that their cloud environments stay up and running, that they're not experiencing any downtime, and, in the event of downtime, they're not paying for it.
But the question remains: When the cloud goes dark; who gets the call?
"There's a huge misconception that if it's cloud it should work," said Raju Chekuri, president and CEO of NetEnrich, an IT-as-a-service play that offers a suite of services to VARs and other cloud providers.
But eventually, Chekuri said, a service call will be necessary and the question of "who do I call if something goes wrong?" bubbles to the surface.
In NetEnrich's case, the VAR is the first line of defense. Clients want one number to call, and since NetEnrich works with various cloud providers like Amazon, Rackspace, Savvis and others, it shouldn't be incumbent on the customer to sort out who to call for which component.
"We are biased toward making the VAR the center of operations," Chekuri said.
NEXT: VARs Vie Take The First Cloud Support Call