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VMware banks heavily on distribution

Dave O'Callaghan is the channel chief at VMware

San Francisco – Almost lost in VMware’s Software-Defined Enterprise (SDE) strategy was the role distributors will play in it.

VMware has traditional worked with distributors using them as a supply chain early on and later as virtualization hit the mainstream in enablement. But with a new focus on SDE VMware channel chief Dave O’Callaghan said the plan is now to use distributors in the company’s value added approach to its go to market strategy and leverage the many integration facilities at distributors to create solutions for its OEM partners as well as those inside VMware’s solution provider ecosystem.

In turn, O’Callaghan will open up VMware’s installed base to distributors. “I think this will ease the complexity that’s out there now and the distributors will get an opportunity to work with VMware solution providers,” he said.

Currently, VMware works with 143 distributors worldwide. O’Callaghan said that of the 143 worldwide distribution partners the company sports they will continue to provide supply chain, bill of materials, financing and enablement. “We reach thousands of resellers through the distribution layer and we play to incent the distributors to enable those resellers in depth and mastery of our solutions,” O’Callaghan said.

Currently, 85 per cent of VMware’s total revenue goes through the channel and the company claims to have more than 75,000 channel partners worldwide.

The new aspect of the distribution strategy for VMware will be to aid distributors in providing deeper integration services for the solution provider tier as part of a value-add play. High profile distributors such as Ingram Micro and Tech Data already have configuration services and advance technology facilities for solution providers. Value-added distributors such as Arrow and Avnet have developed SolutionPath blueprints for channel partners to help them build high value solutions and increase their speed to market.

“When you go to an integration centre at an Arrow, Avnet, Tech Data or Ingram Micro it’s like an integration centre for Mercedes Benz. The technicians there look like they are performing open heart surgery on a V-Block or a FlexPod. We see this as an important part of the future,” O’Callaghan added.

Eric Gales, VMware Canada’s country manager, told CDN that the Canadian market is playing catch-up with vCHS and were not yet enabled to sell that solution through distribution.

“We see distribution as a key conduit as you can see they are investing in VMware and support the channel ecosystem we have,” Gales said.

Donna Wittmann, VMware Canada channel chief, said that the demonstration capabilities alone at distribution will be key to SDE. “Seeing is believing and the distributors are great at being able to scale broadly to build that market up and expose these solutions to the channel,” she said.

Gales added that VMware is now providing channel opportunities to every partner type. “They are asking us how to help them realize the market potential and it’s great to see that in distribution. They can advance it and we all benefit from the vendor down to the channel. I have not seen that level of focus in a long while and it’s going to provide a seismic opportunity in the market,” he said.