February 28, 2010

Competing with the Cloud

A major benefit of cloud computing, according to its proponents, is that it reduces the amount of computer hardware and IT infrastructure companies need to run their businesses. So you would think that cloud computing would be bad news for custom system builders who make their living assembling computer hardware for their customers.

"It's a complete reversal from the traditional custom system builder approach," said Todd Swank, marketing vice president at Nor-Tech, a Burnsville, Minn.-based custom system builder. "We start with the hardware sale and the cloud is all about not having hardware."

"We're trying to figure out how this affects our hardware sales," agreed Joe Toste, sales and marketing vice president at Equus Computer Systems, a Minneapolis-based custom system builder.

But while the growing adoption of cloud computing could spell trouble for custom system builders, Swank is convinced there's a golden opportunity in them thar cloud systems. "It's going to be the wave of the future and how we make money on it is the question I'm trying to figure out," he said.

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