Six Types Of Cloud Computing Partners, According To IBM

IBM has defined six types of partners that help move customers to cloud computing, said Dave Mitchell, director of strategy and emerging business for the vendor.

These include partners who build private or public clouds for clients, develop cloud applications, resell cloud services, extend cloud functionality and aggregate multiple clouds, he said. All can take advantage of IBM's new Cloud Computing Lab, based in Hursley in the U.K.

"We want to work with all these types of partners to develop their cloud offerings," he said. "Some will work with the IBM cloud, and some will build their own clouds. Partners can come in, understand their model, explore their models further, and go away with a solution."

Which type are you? Click through to find out. And then get the scoop on IBM's new Cloud Computing Lab.

Cloud builders are partners who build clouds, typically private clouds, for their enterprise customers, Mitchell said.

Included in this partner type are systems integrators, hardware integrators and software integrators, he said.

A private, or internal, cloud is one in which a company's own server, storage, networking and other resources are integrated as part of a dynamic infrastructure that makes those resources available to be quickly deployed or deleted for internal customers as needed.

Cloud infrastructure providers are partners who own a data center or have some IT operations skills who want to build a public cloud.

Such partners include telcos, hosting providers, VADs (value-added distributors), VARs (value-added resellers), or IT services companies, Mitchell said.

A public cloud is IT infrastructure that is made available to multiple customers as a service. The public cloud has compute and storage and other IT resources that are made available dynamically over the Internet with payment based on the amount of resources consumed.

Cloud application providers develop business applications that they want to deliver via a cloud as a service, Mitchell said. Such applications are typically charged for on a subscription basis.

These partners include ISPs and solution providers who develop applications.

Cloud services resellers are partners who want to resell services from public cloud providers, Mitchell said. This can often be a first step for solution providers looking to bring the cloud to customers.

Such partners include a wide range of solution provider types, including systems integrators, hardware or software resellers, and so on, he said.

Cloud technology providers have some sort of asset that can be used to extend the reach or capabilities of other companies' clouds, Mitchell said.

Such assets include tools for automating certain cloud functions, or tools for providing charge-back or automatic billing capabilities in multitenant cloud environments, he said.

Cloud aggregators do not own or operate a cloud. Instead, they aggregate services from a variety of clouds for their customers, Mitchell said.

This is currently the newest type of cloud partner, he said.

IBM last week launched its first Cloud Computing Lab in Hursley in the U.K. to provide technology and channel partners a platform for testing different models for developing and selling cloud computing services.

The Lab lets partners access the IBM Test Cloud from any of IBM's 38 Innovation Centers worldwide, Mitchell said. Partners can also access the IBM Test Cloud from other locations, said Mitchell. "But we're hearing from a lot of our partners that they want to come into our Innovation Centers and physically work from there," he said.

Partners can also use the Lab to develop and test new cloud services and get access to IBM personnel who can help them develop go-to-market plans, Mitchell said.