ElasticHosts Takes Aim At Amazon With Channel Expansion Plan


U.K.-based cloud provider ElasticHosts is setting its sights on Amazon as it looks to beef up its channel presence in the North American market.

Last year ElasticHosts expanded into the U.S. and Canada for the first time with new cloud hosting data centers in Los Angeles and Toronto. The company also introduced a white-label reseller program that allows solution providers to brand ElasticHosts' cloud services as their own, and now the cloud provider is focused on expanding its channel presence by taking aim at larger competitors, namely Amazon Web Services.

"Amazon EC2 is huge in this market, as are a few other major players, but we want to focus on simplicity and ease of use for the cloud beginner," said Richard Davies, CEO of ElasticHosts. "We offer more flexibility and scaling, so users can dial up the exact amount of CPU and memory and storage capacity that they need. Instead of having to choose between pre-formed cloud packages and services, you really can just pay for what you need."

Davies is hoping that flexibility and ease of use -- for both clients and partners -- will help the company win over more reseller partners in the region to go to war against Amazon and other cloud competitors.

"This is still a business where customers need a reseller," Davies said. "Customers aren't just going to go to Amazon and buy cloud services with no support or guidance."

Currently, ElasticHosts has nine cloud hosting data centers around the world, including three in the U.S. In addition to the white-label reseller program, the company also offers its ElasticHosts Reseller Partner Program and Referral Partner Program. But it's the white-label offering that Davies believes will help the company gain a foothold against Amazon.

"The resellers were losing that part of the cloud business," Davies said. "The white-label program brings them to us and lets them present their own branded cloud to customers, which they can then support with their own services, without having to spend all that money on setting up their own data centers."

Fusion Clouds in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., is one such white-label partner. The company, a subsidiary of The Consultants Network, focuses on cloud hosting and services and uses ElasticHosts' cloud to deliver virtual environments to customer.

"We care a lot about our brand, so the ability to white-label was very important to us," said Ernesto Lee, CEO of Fusions Clouds. "The pricing is attractive, and our clients love it because they can deploy virtual environments a lot quicker."

But the biggest benefit, Lee said, is ElasticHosts' ease of use. "Amazon is extremely difficult to use; it's expensive, it's proprietary, and it's very difficult to customize software on it," he said. "That's not the case with ElasticHosts."

Davies said ElasticHosts is hitting the channel trenches to sign up more partners in the U.S. and Canada and also convince traditional resellers to start moving to the cloud.

"Resellers are telling us that the cloud is being forced on them, and they see clients moving to the cloud and they're worried about losing those data center hardware sales," Davies said. "Our message is, 'You're losing the hardware sale but you're gaining recurring revenue.' So you can lose the hardware sale or you can lose everything."

Even better, Davies said, is cloud services gives resellers a chance to play in the data center services market without having to worry about carrying expensive iron. "Expensive hardware kept a lot of resellers out of the data center," he said. "But now that's not the case."

PUBLISHED NOV. 13, 2013

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