We know what a cloud provider is – we think Amazon, Rackspace, Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, etc. We may even know what a cloud reseller is, but some may not know the term cloud builder. Of course, we could assume it’s a company that “builds” clouds. Yes, this is true, but in Seagate’s eyes, a cloud builder is a company that specializes in developing server and storage solutions, sometimes with unique software, that power cloud data centers whether they are local, regional, or global.
Based on this definition, you may think – Dell, HP, IBM, etc., and that would be true. The global OEMs are cloud builders, but the little known fact is that many cloud providers are moving away from traditional enterprise hardware and software to open architectures that use off the shelf components, held together with open source software and APIs. This move to custom non-branded designs was reinforced by the likes of Facebook and their Open Compute Project.
Based on this market dynamic, who best to form strategic partnerships with to bring innovation and products to the cloud market?
Of course, our system builder partners in the channel. Who is better at customization, design flexibility, open architecture, etc. than the traditional channel system builder? The more we spoke to them about the strategy, the more we learned about their business models and how they were changing. And, the more we learned we had one major focus in common – the cloud. Check out some of the companies in the Cloud Builder Alliance here.
These companies specialize in customization, taking into consideration the cloud provider or end user’s goals and objectives, and using technology to solve the problem. Storage is only one piece of the solution, albeit a critical piece. When it comes to delivering cloud compute and cloud storage services, identifying the right drive or mix of drives per application, coming up with new features and technologies, and simplifying the architecture are areas in need of innovation and expertise. No single company has all of the answers, but collectively, the cloud could be a faster, safer, and richer experience.