Although the cloud is all about agility and speed, for channel partners, migrating customers away from their on-premises systems can be a lengthy and complex task, one that Appcara, a Milpitas, Calif.-based company that specializes in cloud management, hopes to mitigate for partners.
"We believe that customers and partners want more efficiency as they run mission-critical applications like accounting software, customer relationship management software and ERP," said Paul Speciale, CMO of Appcara. "We focus on managing applications in the cloud. That means that we simplify the whole process of installing the software, setting up the application packages and making sure that all the dependencies are set. There is always a collection of servers, Web servers and databases, inventory systems and a lot of different pieces that need to collaborate. Our software provides the workflow automation that will allow our partners to make this happen efficiently."
After roughly three years of product development, Appcara is currently in the process of trying to rally channel partners to its cause.
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"I think the key thing that partners need is basic understanding of cloud technology, either public or private cloud," Speciale said. "We can stand up an application in the cloud in three clicks. I challenged one of my guys to [manually] install Hadoop in the cloud environment. Seven hours later he still was not done. But, one of my channel partners can click on Hadoop and have it up and running in about five minutes."
At this point, Appcara channel partners' actions are more focused on testing. The company claims only four current partners, but it expects the benefits of its technology to help it gain momentum quickly.
"Our customers want to move their business apps to private clouds, and we haven't really had the necessary skills to move those apps over, so we've been looking for a good management system," said Rajiv Shah, CEO of Impex Technologies, an El Segundo, Calif.-based channel partner that has been mostly focused on storage technologies. "The applications are being tested out in the lab, and so far the feedback from the engineering team is really positive. We are planning some proof-of-concept solutions."
NEXT: It's All About The APIsApplication deployment in a public cloud using Appcara requires, according to the company, a three-step process through which the partner selects applications from the company's portal, identifies which cloud will be used, approves the cost structure to support the application, and at that point the deployment begins. Once the app is up and running, security rules, backup, auto-scaling and similar configurations can be set.
Private cloud deployment is also available.
"The whole idea is to keep the user in a simple environment, rather than having to connect to the server and do this all manually," said Appcara's Speciale. "So if I'm a partner who is moving into the cloud, I can establish a foothold in one technology segment using our platform and then expand into other technology segments, and perhaps even technologies that I did not offer the customer prem."
But, some channel partners are cautious of the concept.
"If the vendor has a very solid relationship with the providers with whom they work, then this should be pretty straightforward," said Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Westboro, Mass.-based solution provider. "If all the necessary APIs are available and working properly, it could be good. If not, then the primary benefits will be reduced. It's kind of like the old days of HP OpenView. If you have the right MIB for your switch, then you were in good shape. If they didn't, it was going to be very expensive."
Appcara currently claims 85 prepackaged application components for a variety of apps, including Oracle and MySQL.
PUBLISHED JUNE 25, 2013