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Ingram Micro Looks to Extend Cloud Partner Reach

 
 
By Michael Vizard  |  Posted 2016-04-13
 
 
 
Ingram Micro,cloud partner

PHOENIX—Looking to build a channel ecosystem around a broad range of cloud services, Ingram Micro this week unfurled several extensions to the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace at the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2016 conference here.

The overarching Ingram Micro goal is to make it simpler for solution providers to mix and match cloud services under their own brand using either an online store managed by Ingram Micro or an instance of that online store that partners can license and host themselves, said Renee Bergeron, vice president of global cloud for Ingram Micro.

At the same time, Ingram Micro also announced a Cloud Referral Program through which traditional resellers can resell cloud services via their own Website. The program enables solution providers to embrace cloud services without having to transform their entire business model, Bergeron said.

In addition, the distributor showcased Ingram Micro Cloud Echo, a marketing service that will make it simpler for solution providers to reuse marketing content across multiple social networks.

Those announcements come on the heels of Ingram’s signing a definitive agreement earlier this month to acquire Ensim, a distributor of cloud applications and related IT services. Previously, Ingram Micro acquired the Odin cloud platform from Parallels in addition to Softcom and SofCloudIT to bolster the range of cloud service expertise it makes available to its channel partners. Earlier this year, Ingram Micro agreed to become a unit of HNA Group, a logistics company based in China, as part of an effort to expand its global reach.

Access to 500 Cloud Services

Via the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace, solution providers can access more than 500 cloud services through a white-label online store. The company will also bundle various cloud services together in special offerings and make available cloud migration services provided by its partners to solution providers that don’t have their own technical staff with that expertise, Bergeron said. She added that there is no requirement for Ingram Micro partners to set up individual contracts with hundreds of solution providers.

Alternatively, solution providers can opt to license and download the core Odin platform or a new lighter-weight Odin Automation (OA) Essentials to create their own branded online store running on their own systems. Designed to be installed in about five hours, Ingram Micro will initially provide an instance of OA Essentials that be aimed at cloud service providers. Separate editions aimed at resellers and providers of hosting services will be made available later this year. Ingram Micro also revealed that initially the only cloud services available via OA Essentials will be provided by Microsoft, with other cloud services to be added over the course of the coming year.

All told, Ingram Micro already has 10 million seats under management, a number it expects to expand considerably as solution providers find it simpler to resell cloud services under their own brand, Bergeron said.

“We already have 30,000 resellers on the marketplace,” said Bergeron. “But when it comes to solution providers in the cloud, there’s no such thing as one size fitting all.”

On average, Bergeron revealed the typical Ingram Micro partner is managing seven subscriptions on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace. By the end of this year, Bergeron predicts the average partner will be managing 20 subscriptions across 400 seats.

For InfinIT Consulting, installing the core Odin platform on servers owned by InfinIT is the far preferable option, Jerod Powell, InfinIT CEO, said. The company wants to be able to control what cloud applications and services are exposed to its customers—and to be able to add additional applications that it develops or that Ingram Micro does not distribute at its discretion, Powell said.

“We need to be able to differentiate ourselves,” he said.” “We want to create our own cloud ecosystem.”

It remains to be seen how many Ingram Micro partners will opt to leverage a cloud marketplace that the company makes available as a service, versus using the distributor’s software to host their own stores.

One thing that is clear, however, is that as the way software and services continues to evolve in the age of the cloud, solution providers of all sizes are soon going to make a platform choice that not only makes it simpler to deliver those applications and services, but also potentially binds them closer than ever to a particular distributor.

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.