Distributor Comstor to offer IaaS, cloud collaboration services

Cisco-centered distributor Comstor has partnered with PeakColo and collab9 to offer cloud-based infrastructure and hosted collaboration services.

Comstor, the Cisco-focused business unit of value-added distributor Westcon Group Inc., today announced Comstor Cloud Distribution Services, a new category of offerings for the distributor and its partners. This also marks Comstor's first two cloud offerings.

Comstor will offer enterprise-class Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in partnership with PeakColo and Hosted Collaboration Services in partnership with collab9.

The IaaS from PeakColo is based on a Cisco Validated Design that uses FlexPod, a reference architecture for an integrated compute, networking and storage infrastructure stack using Cisco Unified Computing System, NetApp Inc. FAS storage, and hypervisor technology from either VMware Inc. or Microsoft.

The channel-centric PeakColo cloud services allow partners to white-label the offerings under their own brand to build out their own unique cloud practice.

Besides the IaaS, partners can build additional cloud-enabled offerings such as hybrid clouds, storage, disaster recovery, backup and virtual desktops, according to Geoff Fancher, senior vice president at Comstor.

"We're connecting providers who are building offerings based on Cisco technology with partners that have a customer base and the Cisco expertise; we're helping to drive the Cisco model for cloud and enabling our partners to take advantage of what Cisco has created," Fancher said. Comstor has about 1,000 partners in the U.S.

Collab9, which is also a channel-centric cloud services provider, offers Hosted Collaboration Services, a cloud-based communication solution built on a Cisco architecture that includes voice, mobility, messaging, Web conferencing and presence.

The new collab9 cloud collaboration services offering is geared for Cisco partners holding Cisco Advanced Collaboration Architecture and Advanced Unified Communications specializations.

While Comstor is not the sole channel source for either the PeakColo or collab9 cloud offerings, the No. 3-ranked distributor for Cisco in the U.S. believes it is uniquely positioned to help partners move to the cloud.

"The partner base that will care about our new cloud offerings [is] the partner base that [sells] Cisco today. We help Cisco partners extremely well," Fancher said.

One unique Comstor partner enablement tool is its Executive Relevance Selling (ERS) model, Fancher noted. "We built this model to help our partners sell outside of IT, say, to the line of business or CFO [chief financial officer]," he said.

ERS isn't new at Comstor. The distributor offers other modules that differ by architectural solutions.

ERS trains partners on how to have conversations with the relevant purchasing decision makers and is backed by a software environment the company calls "CFO-proof." In other words, it includes ROI tools that help build the business case for a particular solution.

Comstor expects to deliver a new ERS module for the new IaaS cloud offering by the first quarter of next year. Comstor already has an ERS module in the collaboration space but will update it sometime in the future.

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