South African businesses have embraced the flexibility of as-a-service computing, but they are increasingly looking to supplement their usage of public cloud services with on-premises and edge solutions that offer consumption-based billing. This is creating compelling opportunities for resellers to work with value-distributors and vendors to offer hybrid cloud solutions to their clients.

That’s according to Chris Larkins, business unit manager: enterprise at Tarsus Distribution, who says that South African businesses are enthusiastic about the benefits of the public cloud, such as the ability to rapidly deploy and scale new computing services and to reduce capital expenditure, the risk of over- or under-provisioning, and the need to source rare technical skills.

However, they are also finding that hyperscale cloud platforms are not the ideal solution for every use case or workload. For example, many companies are looking to deploy infrastructure closer to where they gather and process data to reduce latency. This includes a range of artificial intelligence, analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) use cases where data egress costs and speed of processing are factors.

Says Larkins: “Although initial cost of public cloud services isn’t a major driver, many companies have discovered that hyperscale services can be more expensive and less predictable than expected because of exchange rate volatility. For many workloads, compliance, data gravity, and the high costs of data egress—moving data out of the cloud— are emerging as key considerations.

“That’s not to say that enterprises want to go back to old ways of paying for and managing infrastructure. They want consumption-based billing and scalability, like the public cloud, but with the ability to bring infrastructure closer to their data creation sources. Leading vendors and valued-added distributors are creating self-service, self-managed private cloud options to serve this market.”

These options will offer resellers access to a private cloud that is as easy to operate as the public cloud and that allows their clients to self-serve resources through an intuitive user interface. Because all offerings are delivered as a service, with predictable costs and no upfront payment, end-users pay for what they use.

Offerings include basic infrastructural services such as backup, disaster recovery, networking, storage and computing as well as solutions that enable end-clients to accelerate artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and other complex deployments. “The opportunity for resellers will lie in offering a complete solution to their clients – not just some virtual machines and data storage,” says Larkin.

In this emerging paradigm, the value-added distributor’s role is to support resellers, especially small-to-mid-sized partners, with a platform that enables them to reduce the costs, risks and time it would take to move into the as-a-service space. Distributors can run a secure platform; own, operate and manage the software and hardware; and provide a billing engine to their resellers.

In the background, a distributor and its vendor partners will run the platform as a full enterprise service with robust service level agreements while resellers and their customers focus on strategic business priorities. This will enable smaller resellers, including qualifying small enterprises, to target public sector and large enterprise clients with robust as-a-service solutions. They would benefit from a predictable stream of recurring revenues.

“We envision a world where resellers can offer their clients a scalable private cloud that complements and integrates with public cloud offerings—without needing to make capital-intensive investments in their own cloud infrastructure,” says Larkins. “In time, they’ll be able to offer customers a complete bouquet of public and private cloud services accessible from one place and paid via one monthly bill.”