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Most enterprise IT organizations would rather use a direct network link to connect to a cloud service than rely on the vagaries of the public Internet. To simplify making those connections, Console, a unit of IIX, created a namesake cloud network service that provides a direct private network connection to major cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) application providers.

Console has now wrapped a channel partner program around that service—with BTI Systems, 910Telecom, Hurricane Electric, Netelligent Hosting Services, RACK59, ScaleMatrix, T5 Data Centers, iTel, Metro Optic, One Source Networks, Online Tech, SummitIG, VeloCloud and  Zavo Group becoming the first partners to participate in reselling the service.

Rather than having to set up all the manual connections required to create a VPN and a cloud service provider, IIX CEO Al Burgio said IIX created a separate business unit that has built private network connections into all the major cloud service and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Console partners can opt to make use of those connections, rather than having to spend the time and effort making those manual connections themselves.

“A lot of partners can’t even get a cloud service provider to return their phone calls,” said Burgio. “We let them tap into an existing ecosystem.”

That’s critical, added Burgio, because, for channel partners to be relevant in the age of the cloud, they need to have a relationship with the major cloud service and SaaS application providers. Given how challenging it is to create those relationships, Console allows channel partners to deliver cloud services to their customers via a private network that connects directly into the data centers where cloud service providers host their applications.

In addition, Burgio noted that many partners can’t do business with enterprise IT companies unless they can guarantee them access to a secure network connection, which is hard to deliver using a public Internet connection.

At a time when many solution providers across the channel are struggling to find ways to stay relevant in the age of the cloud, making sure customers continue to appreciate their services and expertise may very well come down to making the right proverbial cloud network connection.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.