Gartner cloud forecast bodes well for service providers

Gartner predicts end-user public cloud spending to reach $332.3 billion this year, with SaaS representing the largest area of investment; other IT channel news.

Global spending on public cloud services is poised to grow 23% in 2021, according to Gartner research, which identified desktop as a service and IaaS as the fastest growing sectors.

The Gartner cloud forecast should encourage consultancies and professional services firms gearing up to ride the wave of cloud expansion. The past few months have seen established service providers and new specialist consultancies focus on the cloud market. Mergers-and-acquisitions activity, on the upswing since mid-2020, continues to surge as strategic buyers and private equity firms snap up cloud services companies.

Growth in the public cloud market produces a ripple effect on cloud IT services, which include consulting, planning, design, migration, implementation and managed services, noted Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner. He cited another recent Gartner report that found more than 40% of organizations use an external provider, such as a systems integrator or MSP, to establish a cloud operations model.

"I think the lesson is it is easy to sign up for the [hyperscaler] services but not all that easy to do it all by yourself," Nag said.

Gartner forecasted overall end-user public cloud spending to reach $332.3 billion in 2021. SaaS will represent the largest subset of that spending, pegged at $122.6 billion -- a 37% slice of the public cloud pie. The leading growth sectors are IaaS, expected to expand at a 38.5% clip in 2021, and desktop as a service (DaaS), which tops Gartner's expansion table at about 68% growth.

Gartner 2021 cloud forecast

Channel partners are active in all three cloud segments. In SaaS, consulting and professional services firms have bolstered their Salesforce and ServiceNow practices in particular. In IaaS, consultancies continue to grow around AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. Meanwhile, in DaaS, partner ecosystems have emerged around AWS WorkSpaces and Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop.

Cloud consultants need not limit themselves to the foundational components of cloud infrastructure, however. Organizations will increasingly use the cloud in combination with other technologies, such as IoT sensors and AI and machine learning, to address challenges such as smart cities, connected vehicles and remote healthcare, Nag said.

"To do all these things at scale, you need a highly scalable compute, storage and networking platform," he said. "The public cloud is the glue that brings all of this together."

Supermicro, Weka partner on AI storage bundles

Supermicro, a server and storage solutions provider based in San Jose, Calif., will offer channel partners a set of AI storage bundles in partnership with Weka, a company that provides a data platform for technical computing environments.

The bundles, which range from 250 to 2,089 TB, aim to address the data management needs of organizations adopting AI. Eighty-six percent of the 500 technology professionals polled in a Weka study said their companies have at least one AI initiative. Most companies have two to three AI efforts underway, while a few reported as many as five, according to Weka.

Weka President and Chief Revenue Officer Ken Grohe said about 75% of the company's partners have an AI practice. Supermicro Vice President of Sales Matt Abreu estimated 50% to 60% of Supermicro partners are involved in AI.

Qualifying partners that sell the Supermicro-Weka bundles can receive a $5,000 incentive. To qualify, a reseller must sell the bundle into a net-new account and the sale must be worth $50,000 in Weka File System revenue. Resellers must register their deals in Weka's partner portal by May 31, 2021, and close those deals by Nov. 30, 2021.

Partner roster updates

  • Thirdera, a cloud professional services and integration company that specializes in ServiceNow, partnered with PeopleReign, which provides a virtual agent for IT and HR employee service requests. Thirdera, based in Leesburg, Va., will resell PeopleReign and deploy the offering along with ServiceNow.
  • Med Tech Solutions, a healthcare IT solutions provider based in Valencia, Calif., joined security specialists Avertium and Lifars in an alliance. Avertium will contribute security monitoring to the partnership, while Lifars will provide digital forensics and cyber-resiliency services. Together, the companies will offer managed cloud services, a managed security operations center and incident response.
  • Sungard Availability Services, based in Wayne, Pa., expanded its data center services through an alliance with Unitas Global, a managed network service provider. Sungard said it will use Unitas' Nexus and Reach offerings to transform its data centers into "connectivity hubs" for colocation, hybrid cloud and recovery, among other services.
  • Hycu Inc., a multi-cloud data backup and recovery software company based in Boston, joined SADA's SaaS Alliance Program. The companies will make HYCU's backup and recovery software for Google Cloud available to customers.

Channel program launches and updates

  • Zadara, based in Irvine, Calif., launched a consortium of MSPs that lets members use the company's edge cloud services and each other's infrastructure to deploy applications in hundreds of locations worldwide. The company's Federated Edge program enables MSPs to create new revenue streams without investing in physical facilities, according to Zadara.
  • Otava, a hybrid cloud solutions provider based in Ann Arbor, Mich., expanded its partner program. The updates include a new partner portal with deal registration, co-brandable enablement tools and marketing campaign assistance.
  • Avant Communications, a technology distributor based in Chicago, rolled out its Trusted Advisor Academy certification program. The training and certification program covers unified communications as a service, contact center as a service, security, backup as a service and disaster recovery as a service.

Other news

  • Accenture invested in Okra, a fintech startup based in Nigeria. Launched in 2019, Okra focuses on open finance data infrastructure. The investment comes through Accenture Ventures' Project Spotlight, which aims to link emerging technology startups with Global 2000 companies. Okra will be able to collaborate with Accenture software engineers, systems architects and payments specialists.
  • The healthcare vertical experienced rapid change in 2020, according to market researcher The NPD Group Inc., based in Port Washington, N.Y. The company's U.S. B2B Reseller Tracking Services said healthcare sector spending dropped 14% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic led to a decline in doctors' office visits and elective surgeries. Healthcare spending in the fourth quarter, however, increased 4% compared with the year-earlier quarter, according to NPD. Technology categories that saw notable increases in spending between April and December 2020 included notebooks, tablets, USB cameras and security software, the company said.
  • EY expanded its alliance with IBM, launching the IBM TechHub@EY, a global association of EY practitioners focused on IBM technologies, including hybrid cloud and AI. IBM TechHub@EY will develop IBM-supported offerings and platforms while serving as a single point of contact for EY's IBM-related needs, according to EY.
  • D2M, a service and solution partner based in McLean, Va., said it transitioned Ora, an ophthalmic research firm, to a customized hybrid cloud environment. The two-month deployment compares with an industry average of six to 12 months, according to D2M. Going forward, D2M and Ora teams will collaborate on service desk tools, networking and cybersecurity features, and expanded cloud management tools.
  • MSP software vendor N-able, formerly SolarWinds MSP, said it will integrate DNSFilter's cloud-based security technology into its N-central and remote monitoring and management products. N-able also hired Mike Adler as its new chief technology and product officer. Adler joins the company from RSA Security, where he was chief product officer, security.
  • Exertis, a distributor based in Amherst, N.Y., launched Exertis Enterprise, a North American business unit that offers data center technologies such as servers, storage, networking and security. The business unit also offers professional services.

Executive appointments

  • Upstack, a web platform that sells cloud services through cloud sales agents, appointed Scott Forbush as its chief revenue officer. Forbush, previously senior vice president of global sales at Telarus, will be responsible for Upstack's partner acquisition strategy.
  • Ensono, a hybrid IT services provider based in Downers Grove, Ill., named Mike Brito as vice president of solution architecture. Brito was previously at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, where he led solution architecture teams.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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