VMware PEX 2013: VMware rolls out cloud 'credits,' role-based accreditation, more

At VMware PEX 2013 in Las Vegas, VMware announced VMware Cloud Credits Purchasing Program for channel partners to sell to customers.

LAS VEGAS -- At VMware Partner Exchange 2013 today, VMware Inc. rolled out a number of programs for channel partners designed to boost revenue, market cloud services, establish new role-based accreditations and improve partner-to-partner communication.

The centerpiece of VMware's partner announcements at VMware PEX 2013 is the VMware Cloud Credits Purchasing Program, designed to help channel partners get over the hump and into the groove of selling cloud services.

More specifically, the VMware Cloud Credits Purchasing Program allows partners to sell prepaid credits that can be used by customers for subscription-based hybrid or public cloud services that will be offered by authorized VMware vCloud service provider partners. At launch in March, there will be 12 authorized vCloud service providers, according to Geoff Waters, senior director of the cloud services provider program at VMware. The company plans to add another 30 or so authorized VCloud service providers.

According to VMware, the new program offers channel partners opportunities to expand business into the public/private cloud, to increase value-added services, and to elevate a partner's "trusted advisor" status.

"There's been a big challenge in the industry as a whole of how to get partners to adopt cloud in their businesses," said Waters, who noted that the options for partners to become service providers themselves are slim to none for the majority.

"We're introducing this program to bring together the service provider ecosystem and the channel partner ecosystem to help propel both into offering customers the cloud solutions they're looking for," he said.

Here's how it works: Channel partners sell prepaid credits to a customer as a SKU and the customer redeems the credits in exchange for cloud services based on VMware hybrid vCloud architecture. In addition to earning upfront revenue, partners can add value by working with their customers to architect the right cloud solution prior to purchasing the cloud credits.

Customers manage their cloud credits in the MyVMware portal, and partners manage reporting through Partner Central.

For the first time, VMware is offering partners "accelerators," in the form of limited-time upfront discounts for the recently introduced VMware vSphere with Operations Management. According to the company, the move highlights its push to deliver the "software-defined data center" based on VMware vCloud suite.

And, for the first time since 2009 when it began offering its channel partners company-level competencies, VMware will now offer role-based learning competencies built around specific practice areas. The six Solution Competencies are Infrastructure Virtualization, Virtualization of Business Critical Applications (VBCA), Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (Cloud IaaS), Business Continuity, Desktop Virtualization and Management.

The six competencies will cross three individual roles -- sales, pre-sales and technical -- and go above the basics to develop a higher level of expertise for the individual and bring higher-level value and recognition to the partner business, according to Colleen Kapase, senior director of partner readiness at VMware.

Partners who attain the VMware Management competency can earn greater rewards on VMware vSphere with Operations Management sales through VMware's Solution Rewards program.

The vendor rolled out a number of additional partners incentives, as well.

To incentivize partners to deliver the software-defined data center based on the VMware vCloud Suite, the company enhanced its Solution Rewards opportunity for partners that achieve all five of VMware's data center and infrastructure-focused competencies, as well as professional services intellectual property to help build and deliver packaged or customized services.

Just six days ago, VMware introduced VMware Horizon Suite, a comprehensive platform for workforce mobility that brings together VMware Horizon Workspace, VMware Horizon Mirage and VMware Horizon View. Today, the vendor is offering partners who attain the VMware Desktop compentency additional Solution Rewards by selling the Horizon Suite.

And, last but not least, at VMware PEX 2013 VMware introduced Partner Link, a secure social media and communications platform for partner-to-partner communication, as well as for communication between partners and VMware subject matter experts.

"Partner Link is a place for partners to share concepts, ideas and to collaborate," Kapase said. "It's also a place where partners can make inquiries and get answers to their technical questions from the experts, in addition to accessing news and information."

VMware Partner Link is the company's implementation of its Socialcast product, an enterprise social networking platform.

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