Suppliers of everything from collaborative applications to backup/archival storage/recovery technology have been speaking with me about new cloud service offerings based upon their products.
Vision Solutions Double-Take disaster recovery
The most recent of these was Vision Solutions, which made a point of introducing a repackaging of its Double-Take disaster recovery product either as cloud service or as a product allowing cloud service providers to offer their own disaster recovery service.
Having watched Vision Solutions for quite some time, I've always been impressed with how solid their offerings are. The company has a number of availability products for a number of different operating systems, and each of them has quite a following. I expect that Double-Take Cloud Protection and Recovery (CP&R) is likely to gather a following as well. The product, by the way, is a CloudStack-based product designed to help service providers offer Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (Vision Solutions is styling this as DRaaS or RaaS) on their own private or public clouds.
The larger picture
The larger trend that I've been seeing is that suppliers of everything, from applications to storage to management tools to disaster recovery products, seem to be packaging their products up so that they can be delivered as service offerings.
Why are suppliers leaping into the clouds?
I believe that suppliers are doing this for a number of reasons. A few of them follow:
With little added engineering, support, marketing and sales cost, these suppliers can enter an entirely new worldwide market
The cloud services market can produce a more reliable stream of revenue, and can take suppliers a step away from the feast or famine cycle of packaged software products. This, by the way, is one of the reasons why I believe Microsoft is forcing users to move towards online office products
Cloud users all use the same version and configuration of products, reducing the cost of supporting them. This, by the way, is another of the reasons behind Microsoft's move to force customers to use online office products
The supplier can appear to be forward thinking and innovative, even if all they're doing is repackaging something that has been in use for decades
The supplier can garner industry attention with little additional work. After all, anytime anyone announces something that is cloud-related, they get media and analyst attention.
Is this a good trend?
Offering products as cloud services can help suppliers increase their stream of revenue, and can open new sales and market channels. If done gently, a new generation of happy customers can emerge.
If these new cloud services are forced upon customers, and older packaged software products are made unavailable or available with new restrictions (I'm thinking of you, Microsoft), customers are likely to be very unhappy, and may look for replacement products.
If one of your preferred suppliers offered a new cloud-oriented version of their product, would you use it? How would you respond if that became the only way they offered their product?