VMware's 5 Steps To Cloud Computing

There is still plenty of time for solution providers to take advantage of the movement towards cloud computing and to make good money doing so, said Carl Eschenbach, executive vice president of worldwide field operations.

"We do not believe solution providers should be afraid of the cloud," Eschenbach said. "There's a lot of money to be made."

Eschenbach outlined how solution providers can work with VMware to start dipping their toes into the cloud. "We've mapped out the journey so solution providers can transform their businesses," he said.

The first step is to deploy a private cloud, which virtualizes a customer's IT resources for use in providing services to internal users. Solution providers can help customers build the private cloud, often leveraging existing technology while adding new services, he said.

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The second step is to help companies build a public cloud by expanding their existing infrastructure to offer services to their customers.

Solution providers can then leverage existing private and public clouds by working with service providers looking to target solution providers' enterprise customers, Eschenbach said. "Enterprises already have VMware infrastructures deployed by solution providers," he said. "Solution providers can resell cloud infrastructures from service providers to their enterprise customers."

The fourth step, particularly for larger solution providers, is to get into the business of providing public clouds to their customers, Eschenbach said. "Some are already doing this, either with storage-as-a-service, or disaster recovery or as hosting providers," he said.

Finally, solution providers with application development expertise can start building their own SaaS (software-as-a-service) infrastructures that they can sell to their data center customers, he said.

VMware is working on ways to help solution providers transform their business models to take advantage of cloud computing, including developing new partner competencies, Eschenbach said.

The company is currently working on what Eschenbach called a "cloud competency," one that would let solution providers understand what customers want from the cloud and find the right cloud partners to fill those requirements.

"My vision is to help bridge the gap between the public cloud providers and the solution providers," he said. "We can actually become the conduit for how to sell cloud services through the solution provider community."