IaaS company expands partner ecosystem and makes plans for Canada

Infrastructure-as-as-service company Artisan Infrastructure is expanding its presence in Canada through an extension its partner ecosystem, along with a plan to open a data centre here by the end of 2012.

The Austin, Tex.-based company, founded in 2010, has what it calls the Certified Solution Ecosystem of Independent Software Vendors. Through the program, vendors certify their solutions with Artisan, who determines that the programs can run on its Cornerstone virtual private data centre platform, or “wholesale IaaS.”

Until now, enrolment in the ecosystem program, which began in January 2011, was by invitation only and Artisan signed companies such as CA Technologies, Ottawa-based Mitel Networks and Toronto-based Asigra Inc. Artisan was the “…sorely needed partner to deliver infrastructure as a service that focused on the service provider,” said Brian Hierholzer, the company’s CEO.

Smaller MSPs don’t always have the capital or technical experience to vet various vendors’ solutions. “We quickly realized that this was a significant challenge in the market,” he said.

Through the program, vendors will work with Artisan’s engineering team to ensure their solutions work with its infrastructure and can be deployed easily by managed service providers. It will then create “templates” that simplify the architecture and make it easier for MSPs to deploy. Artisan doesn’t necessarily recommend which vendor’s solutions MSPs should use, but instead provides vetting of potential solutions that already work with its own IaaS technology.

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Artisan’s MSP partners can approach Artisan when seeking a solution for services such as hosted VoIP, virtual desktops or backup and recovery and have a selection of already-certified solutions from ISVs in the program. This is meant to reduce time to market for the service providers and the vendors.

“Our ecosystem kind of happened by accident,” Hierholzer said. Service providers came to Artisan asking which vendors would work best for certain solutions. “If we could take all this heavy lifting and put it aside and do it in advance…we could get faster adoption.”

There are currently several ISVs looking to get certified into the ecosystem program. While participation for both MSPs and vendors is free, there are requirements that the ISVs are channel-focused through their services and support and are proprietary software vendors.  “We just want to make sure we’re working with software folks who own their own code and are channel focused.”

Artisan has a policy of not competing with the channel. “We don’t resell any solutions; we’re Switzerland as far as that’s concerned,” Hierholzer said.

Until now, the company also hasn’t put much emphasis on its marketing efforts, but that too will change.  Artisan recently hired former Asigra executive Ashar Baig as its senior vice-president of marketing and strategic alliances.

Artisan also plans to open a data centre in Canada within 2012, likely within the next six months, which will expand options for its Canadian partners who currently service only U.S. customers. “It just opens up the whole Canadian market and all the managed service providers that are serving the Canadian market who really don’t want their data to reside south of the border.”

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Harmeet Singh
Harmeet Singh
Harmeet reports on channel partner programs, new technologies and products and other issues relevant to Canada's channel community. She also contributes as a video journalist, providing content for the site's original streaming video. Harmeet is a graduate of the Carleton University School of Journalism.

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