Ingram partners with Amazon, Rackspace and Salesforce.com

Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM) has inked three of the leading cloud services providers in the industry in an attempt to bridge the gap between solution providers and emerging cloud computing vendors.

At its first ever Cloud Summit in Dallas, the distributor forged partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS), RackSpace Hosting and Salesforce.com. These three deals will make up Ingram’s new Cloud Conduit program, which encompasses cloud-specific enablement resources and services such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), educational tools, business development templates, sales training and webinars. Cloud Conduit will be part of Ingram’s Seismic unit for managed services.

Jason Beal, director, service sales, at Ingram, said Cloud Conduit is a route to market for cloud computing ISVs and vendors. Cloud services vendors see a role for the channel and came to Ingram for service, a customer base and that route to market. “In some cases these cloud vendors want expertise on how to go about building a reseller channel. The solution provider model helps them with reach and access. For any vendor that is valuable because it saves on time and costs and allows us to help these cloud vendors identify and understand the opportunity with partners,” Beal added.

Justin Crotty, vice president of services sales for Ingram said the distributor teamed with Amazon to develop reseller channels for AWS. “We’re planning to go into beta shortly with the goal of ultimately reselling AWS to our channel partners. With regard to the new Saleforce.com relationship, we’re helping them develop go-to-market channels for their AppXchange partners ISVs through the Cloud Conduit program,” he said.

This means AWS and Salesforce.com it’s not a resale, distribution relationship today.

Rackspace is the only new service available today and solution providers can get more information on the Seismic Web site.

Christopher Rajiah, director of channel sales for Rackspace, said customers are changing the way they buy IT and are moving into this cloud market with the aid of a trusted advisor. The trusted advisor, according to Rajiah, is the partner community and Rackspace has been looking at the channel to help them push this shift in IT buying.“When we looked at our strategy for the enterprise and with partners we wanted to team with Ingram because they can help us with reach and scale. We see this as an opportunity to help make it easier for partners to embrace this shift. They don’t have to re-invent the wheel here it just an alternative delivery method,” he said.

Rajiah added there is a lot of momentum with cloud computing these days and partners view that as an opportunity and risk. Solution providers worry that cloud sales are less revenue initially than an on-premise solution, but it’s a matter of educating the partner, he says, on the reoccurring revenue stream. “It has less capital outlay and it’s more profitable. This new approach with Ingram is not a competitive thing. Its unique, aggressive and it addresses the shift in IT buying and together it will be a great opportunity for us to help enable the VAR community to embrace this change.”

Rackspace has white label offerings, pays not just on first sales but also on upgrades and renewals. Its margin structure is between five and 15 per cent and Rajiah said that Rackspace’s worldwide partner program is about 40 per cent more profitable than others that are based on on-premise sales.

Rackspace’s managed and cloud hosting solutions will be part of Seismic, which has more than 1,600 channel partners throughout Canada and the U.S.

Beal said that cloud service vendors such as Rackspace and AWS are learning more about the value of the solution provider community and have recognized they have their role. “Not everything can be sold or implemented in a direct model. These companies need help to bring them to the channel. They have good brand equity and technology, but now the reseller can bring them a lot more benefits.”

As part of the Cloud Conduit program, Ingram created an advisory council to further accelerate cloud adoption. Called the Cloud Conduit Advisory Council it includes AWS, CA, Citrix Systems, McAfee, Microsoft, Rackspace and Salesforce.com.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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