Again, maybe I’m a slow learner, but it dawns on me that service providers — Rackspace, Savvis, Terremark that was, and all kinds of MSPs for the SME/SMB market — are going to be the trusted providers of public cloud services in the near future.
Maybe not this year (it’s fashionable to sneer at public cloud nowadays, which means nothing except that it’s passing through the Trough of Disillusionment). But in 3 years, or 5 or 7? You betcha.
And, just like customers today won’t buy storage systems from startups, but buy them from VARs and OEMs today, customers won’t buy public cloud from startups. They’ll buy it from service providers and MSPs.
Which puts these guys in a similar structural position to storage OEMs: they need to buy startups in order to get R&D, and startups them them to partner with in order to show a great balance sheet and other stigmata of credibility to their customers.
My impression — pretty uneducated, but I’ll look into it shortly — is that service providers are still somewhat green at the partnership/BD/M&A game. That should change rapidly.