Blogs & Articles

Wednesday, Nov 13, 2013

The RaaS Secret Sauce: The Channel

By Joshua Geist, CEO Geminare
As more analysts, market commentators and partners discover the flourishing $5.7B Recovery as a Service (RaaS) opportunity, I’ve noted several significant developments that have fundamentally changed my view of RaaS and that will be key to maintaining its impressive growth trajectory in the year ahead.
In a nutshell, it’s the Channel. 
Going into 2013, most companies had a sizeable chunk of their infrastructure virtualized, which allowed them to test key applications within a virtual environment and to migrate large groups of systems and applications into the Cloud. Most importantly, virtualization was significant in developing a strong comfort level with respect to operating within the Cloud.  And so as these companies began to refresh their disaster recovery (DR) plans, as most do every 2-3 years, naturally they looked to the Cloud for cost savings, innovative new technologies and ease of deployment and management.
What these companies recognized almost immediately, however, is that a RaaS technology deployment is not a venture they wanted to take on themselves (or that they even felt capable of handling).  It involves a keen understanding of networking, data center requirements, compute usage and storage growth metrics—all skills and experience typically found in professional services organizations.  Add to that shrinking IT budgets, rapidly-changing technologies, escalating end-user demands and understaffed and overworked IT personnel, and the conclusion becomes obvious: if companies want to enjoy the financial and operational benefits of RaaS, they need professional assistance.
In comes the Channel…
Prospective RaaS Channel Partners need to stand out in a crowded market by differentiating themselves not by price, but by offering a full range of value-added RaaS services. Professional services like Cloud migration support, bandwidth analysis, DR evaluations, end point management and security come to mind as examples of critical offerings driving RaaS solutions.
And on the customer side, prospective RaaS end customers need to seek Channel partners who not only can provide the RaaS technology they’re looking for, but who can also deliver the supporting value-added services required to ensure RaaS deployment success.  Mid-sized and Enterprise organizations are not just deploying one or two servers, they are deploying hundreds. And without a skilled partner to help them, the process can be challenging, to say the least.
The RaaS opportunity for the Channel is substantial.  Leading analysts such as MarketsandMarkets and TechNavio project that the RaaS market will grow north of $5.7 billion in a few years.  That’s a massive number that represents a 55% CAGR.  
Evidence of this mass evolutionary trend in RaaS is everywhere, and in 2013, I was fortunate enough to witness firsthand the phenomenal success of many of our premier RaaS partners, as they leveraged their value-added services to secure game-changing RaaS deals with leading Enterprise accounts.
Perhaps as further evidence that RaaS has emerged as a strong Channel play, I was awarded the 2013 CRN Channel Chief designation.  For me, the award, which I was humbled and gratified to receive, validated the critical role that the channel plays in the success of the Cloud, and in widespread customer adoption of RaaS solutions. 
With a market opportunity measured in the billions, customer adoption of RaaS is at a record pace, and there’s no doubt that RaaS is quickly becoming the preferred choice for corporate BC/DR deployments. And the secret sauce underlying RaaS is very apparent: The Channel. 

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