Disties vow to support VARs in the cloud; Azure pricing questioned

Arrow and Ingram Micro launch cloud support for VARs; Microsoft Azure price model debated.

IT channel news in brief for June 9, 2010

IT distributors arm VARs for cloud computing

IT distributors are ramping up efforts to help VARs find their role in the cloud by providing increased support, training and cloud services.

Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions (ECS) offers new cloud computing services under its professional services division, Arrow Fusion. VARs can use Fusion's cloud services to build customized cloud offerings for customers needing data center monitoring and management, business continuity and disaster recovery. VARs can also use Fusion's remote monitoring and management services to get detailed reports on customer data center technologies and performance.

SaaS offerings include email security, Web defense, email disaster recovery, message archiving and subscription-based access to Microsoft-hosted Exchange and SharePoint. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings include more computing power and access to virtual private servers as well as storage and bandwidth control.

Arrow ECS also provides training, certifications, onsite security assessments, engineering services and 24-hour technical support for VARs and their customers.

"Everyone agrees that cloud computing is going to take off [and] to be quite honest, we've found interest in public and private clouds to be more in the questioning stage. The larger the end user, the more they gravitate toward private clouds; smaller companies go toward public clouds. Once security concerns are locked down, resellers will see more revenue opportunities," said Joe Burke, vice president of worldwide services for Arrow ECS.

Ingram Micro this week launched its Ingram Micro Cloud Conduit, which connects the company's North America channel partners with cloud vendors, ISVs, cloud hosting companies and system integrators.

Through the program, VARs gain free access to cloud services, including IaaS, educational and business development resources, sales training and webinars. For a fee, partners can also use Rackspace's managed and cloud hosting services that were added to Ingram's Seismic portfolio.

The company also formed the Cloud Conduit Advisory Council, with members that include Amazon Web Services, CA, Citrix Systems, McAfee, Microsoft, Rackspace Hosting and Salesforce.com.

Microsoft Azure pricing questioned

Microsoft unveiled tweaks to its fledgling Azure cloud platform this week at Tech Ed 2010, raising the limit on SQL Azure database to 50 GB and spiffing up the Azure SDK with better support for .NET 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010. But, even Microsoft partisans still maintain that the Azure pricing model is too confusing and pricey to encourage wide Azure-based cloud services adoption.

Oracle to cut more Sun heads

Oracle plans to take a charge of up to $825 million to cover costs related to its integration of Sun Microsystems.

The charge, disclosed in a recent SEC filing could range from $675 million to $825 million, of which $550 million to $650 million will cover restructuring charges "related principally to employee severance costs," according to the amended 8-K filing. Up to another $115 million will relate to "facilities costs" and still another $40 million to $50 million is earmarked for "contract termination costs."

In January, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said he expected Oracle's Sun hardware business to be profitable almost immediately -- in February. It appears from the size of these proposed cuts that he was incorrect.

Oracle's fourth quarter and year-end earnings call will be June 24. The company's new fiscal year kicked off June 1.

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