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Managed service providers (MSP) since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have been among the most sought-after channel partners. IT vendors of all sizes quickly realized that MSPs were suddenly exercising a lot more influence over what platforms were being relied on by their end customers to ensure applications remain accessible to employees, partners and end customers.

In some cases IT vendors are making it more lucrative for existing MSP partners that participate in their programs, while in other cases vendors such as Nutanix are adding programs that are specifically designed to recruit MSPs for the first time.

The Nutanix Elevate program has two levels. The first is an Authorized Service Provider program for new partners or those focused on delivering Nutanix infrastructure management services to small to mid-market organizations. It provides access to training, access to not for resale (NFR) software and Nutanix laboratory software licenses, and enablement support.

The Professional Service Provider program is designed for partners that provide differentiated services for enterprise organizations. In addition to all the benefits available to other partners, it additionally provides access to marketing materials, potential market development funds, sales tools, goal-based financial incentives and rebates, and personalized information made accessible via the Nutanix Partner Portal.

First Dedicated Channel Program

Nutanix, of course, has been working with service providers to varying degrees for years. However, the company is now adding a dedicated channel program for service providers for the first time as part of an effort to increase awareness, said Christian Alvarez, senior vice president for worldwide channels at Nutanix. The thing that has made Nutanix historically attractive to those partners is they don’t have to make any upfront commitment, noted Alvarez. “We do not require any financial commitment,” he said.

Service providers that standardize on the Nutanix platform see a nearly 60% gain in IT infrastructure management efficiency compared to other hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms, claimed Alvarez. Service providers can take advantage of auto-metering to provide more granular billing options to their customers.

Nutanix on HPE Greenlake

Nutanix is also expanding its relationship with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE). Nutanix Era, a platform for deploying and updating databases, will be made available on HPE Greenlake, a managed service provided by HPE that some MSPs view as an offering they can resell while others consider it a rival service.

In fact, there are two classes of MSPs emerging. One is leveraging managed services provided by a vendor to reduce their own capital costs, while others continue to prefer to make capital investments in IT infrastructure as part of an effort to maintain greater independence.

Regardless of the path chosen, the number of channel partners identifying themselves as a service provider is steadily increasing. Eventually, the increased volume of providers of service providers will from the perspective of a channel partner have a negative impact on pricing. In the meantime, rising demand for IT services through 2021 and well into 2022 might minimize the potential impact all those service providers might have on margins, assuming none of them get desperate for additional business.