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Parallels Survey Reveals 'Service-Provider Sprawl'

As Parallels opens its annual conference on Monday, the company is releasing a new version of its survey about how businesses are using the cloud.

Parallels' user base gives it a remarkably broad, insider view of cloud service usage. While the company itself isn't a household name, its customers are the major telcos and hosting providers of all sizes who use the Parallels platform to provision the cloud services offerings that they resell to businesses worldwide.

John Zanni, Parallels chief marketing officer and vice president of strategic alliances, service providers, is particularly interested in one area that's changed since the last time Parallels fielded its survey.

"As these businesses are getting their services, they're getting them from different providers. They're actually going to the provider that has the best-in-class service. They're managing IT and their service providers instead of managing their business," Zanni said in an interview.

That's, of course, a trend that Parallels has been betting would occur as it built out support for more than 500 cloud services that cloud service providers can enable using its platform.

But the speed is increasing. Zanni said that survey respondents for now are using an average of five different cloud services. By 2016, they expect to be using an average of nine.

"We're seeing the start of service-provider sprawl," Zanni said.

SMBs are a big chunk of the end customers of Parallels partners/customers. Their buying is concentrated in two growth areas -- online business applications and unified communications.

It will be interesting to watch as the cloud market tries to strike a balance between best-of-breed versus integrated bundles. Tech has seen this kind of fight before -- in the data management/business intelligence space back in the 1990s and even with the Microsoft server software stack versus LAMP and other options in the last decade.

Whichever way things come out -- whether pick-and-choose positioning wins in the cloud or a couple of super-bundles come to dominate -- there's a lot of room for both approaches in the near term.

Posted by Scott Bekker on February 24, 2014 at 12:05 PM


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