As the Open Compute Project (OCP) matures, we are being asked from all corners of the channel – “what does it mean”. (as a side note, why does the channel get so nervous with every technological evolution? The channel is here to stay, whether it is cloud, or OCP.)
The OCP is about huge data centers buying commodity compute, storage, and network components that are built to a standard spec,and then the data center firm optimizing the integration and configuration for their own business.
What this does to the channel is only upside. Since these large data center players were bypassing the channel and going direct to the traditional server vendors in the past, the fact that the data center player is configuring their own data center does not hurt the channel since the business wasn’t going via the channel to begin with.
What this does for the vendors of servers, storage and compute, companies such as Dell, IBM, Cisco, EMC, Netapp, is perhaps a bit more eye-opening. We would assume that these vendors will replace the lost opportunity for sales to these data center players with more activity within traditional enterprise and SMB customers. And, these customers are serviced via the channel.
At this point, we believe OCP will be good for the channel. Strengthening and reinvigorating server, storage and networking vendor relationships to obtain the reach and revenue that is being lost as OCP takes hold in the large data center player markets.
The channel is about relationships, services, financing, go-to-market, tech expertise, logistics and enablement. The compute, storage and network vendors will, arguably, need more of these capabilities as their customer base evolves.