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New program arms Infrascale partners for DRaaS opportunities

Infrascale, a cloud backup and disaster recovery vendor, revealed a new three-tiered program for its partner network; other channel news from the week.

DRaaS player Infrascale, seeking to modernize its channel partner program, has unveiled a new tiering structure for its nearly 1,000 partners.

The partner program now features Registered, Preferred and Elite membership tiers with differentiated benefits and support. All partners, regardless of tier, can access deal registration, sales and technical training, implementation support for the first installation, and discounted not-for-resale systems. Infrascale partners can also tap a community forum, a partner resource center offering sales and marketing collateral, and a new program that rewards customer and partner referrals. "The other thing we've tried to do is make demand generation [and] lead-sharing a central ingredient" for the tiers, added Dean Nicolls, vice president of marketing at Infrascale, based in El Segundo, Calif.

Preferred and Elite partners will receive quarterly business reviews, a dedicated partner success manager, sales incentives at $750 a quarter, and market development funds at about $1,000 a quarter. Elite Infrascale partners, which the company currently has only "a couple handfuls of," will have access to additional leads, a volume incentive rebate program and quarterly market planning.

Infrascale set somewhat loose guidelines around Preferred- and Elite-level membership requirements, which are based on sales and technical certification and commitments to annual sales targets -- $100,000 for Preferred Infrascale partners and roughly $500,000 for Elite, Nicolls said.

He noted the revamping of the company's partner program was influenced by a few executives who joined the company this year, including Bill Falk, former chief revenue officer at Datto, as Infrascale's inaugural CRO, and Chris Sterbenc, Infrascale's senior vice president of sales and channel chief. "These guys helped craft this program, and they're bringing some of the best practices in the industry," he said.

According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the DRaaS market will grow from $1.6 billion in 2016 to $11.1 billion by 2021, with at an estimated CAGR of 45.9%.

"While we primarily focus on the midmarket, our solutions scale from the smallest SMBs [small and medium-sized businesses] all the way to the largest enterprises," Nicholls said. 

Among the differentiators that set Infrascale apart is the company's competitive pricing, he said. "We're probably 20% the cost of the mainstream DR [disaster recovery] guys" like SunGard, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Symantec, he said. "We're a fraction of their cost, and the reason is you don't have to set up standby infrastructure" because customers use the cloud.

He also cited as differentiators the company's 15-minute failover guarantee and its offer of unlimited testing, which is included under a per-terabyte, per-month pricing model. "The simplicity [of our pricing model] resonates with partners. It also resonates with downstream customers," he said.

Viptela launches SD-WAN channel program

Viptela, an SD-WAN vendor, launched its first formal partner program, which guarantees participants a minimum margin on the opportunities they develop.

The company's vForce Global Partner Program targets channel companies such as solution providers, managed service providers and global systems integrators, according to Anthony D'Angelo, vice president of worldwide channel sales at Viptela. He said Viptela seeks out partners focused on the enterprise market. D'Angelo defined that market as organizations with multiple sites and complex environments for which the company's technology is best suited.

"We want to be able to work with partners who are addressing that particular market," he said.

Strong networking expertise, in addition to enterprise orientation, is another key partner attribute, D'Angelo added. Other factors include security skills and the ability to help customers migrate to the cloud.

Thus far, more than 40 partners have signed up for the program. According to Viptela, that group includes Dimension Data, World Wide Technology (WWT), Forsythe Solutions Group, Logicalis, Fishtech Labs, Teneo, Alphaserve Technologies, Vandis, Daymark Solutions, ProSys Information Systems and Verizon.

D'Angelo said Viptela had been working with partners prior to the program's creation, but decided to formalize its channel initiative in light of rising demand for SD-WAN technology.

"The market is growing so fast, the adoption rates are accelerating and customers are demanding SD-WAN specifically ... from partners," he explained.

Other SD-WAN vendors also pursue channel relationships. Silver Peak debuted its partner program in September 2015 and described itself as a "channel-first" company.

Viptela, meanwhile, pursues a 100% channel sales model. D'Angelo said another element of the company's channel effort is simplification: Viptela's partner program lacks the multiple tiers, audits and paperwork he said characterize other channel initiatives.

The company's program is built around deal registration and a guaranteed minimum margin on opportunities. D'Angelo said partners can make up to 20% minimum margin no matter how high the company discounts its product.

Other features of the partner program include a partner portal; partner success funds for investment in demand generation, marketing and training; and a back-end rebate incentive program. The latter component is set to launch in November.

Cohesity taps Cisco partners for UCS offering

Cohesity, a vendor of hyper-converged secondary storage, has joined Cisco's Solution Partner Program and is tapping partners to sell its software on Cisco's UCS servers.

Cohesity last year launched its initial product, a hyper-converged appliance that consolidates secondary storage -- including file services, backup, archival, test/dev and analytics -- on a single platform. The company, however, has now launched a software-only offering that has been validated on Cisco UCS, said Joe Barnes, head of worldwide channels at Cohesity.

Barnes said Cohesity is working with three partners to conduct pilot testing on the Cohesity-Cisco hyper-converged nodes.

Overall, Cohesity has 90 partners in North America and Europe in its partner program, which launched in February 2016. Barnes said the company's recruitment strategy is to target channel companies having success selling other emerging technologies. He said all of the company's sales transactions involve a partner company.

At present, Cohesity works directly with partners in North America but plans to announce an agreement with a distributor for the U.S. market in early 2017. Outside of North America, the company has already begun a distribution strategy, with agreements with two distributors in place and two or three more distribution arrangements expected this year, Barnes noted.

The hyper-converged space is developing a channel ecosystem, with a number of hyper-converged infrastructure vendors cultivating ties with channel companies.

Other news

Here's a look at highlights from the week:

  • Distributor Ingram Micro unwrapped Vertical Expo Live (VEL), a website featuring learning and marketing content focusing on U.S. vertical markets. Available for free to partners as part of the Vertical Advantage Program, the VEL provides information about market drivers, trends and technology needs across a number of verticals, including educationhealthcare, financial services, legal, public sector and retail. Channel partners can also access information about best practices, as well as content and collateral for marketing, sales and social media, the distributor said. Ingram Micro aims to expand VEL with lead-generation services, end-user profiling, market-specific benchmarks, and additional data-driven resources and tools.
  • Tech Data Corp. will offer Bragi's The Dash wireless earphones to North American solution providers, according to the distributor. The product will be available to resellers through Tech Data's Client and Mobile Solutions division. Bragi, a company launched via Kickstarter, describes The Dash as "wireless smart earphones" that incorporate a 32-bit ARM processor, 4 G of storage, IR optical sensors and a 3-axis accelerometer.
  • CompTIA reported IT sector employment expanded for the third month in a row in September, with the software and services category leading the job growth. Overall, IT payrolls grew by 2,900 new jobs, which CompTIA described as a modest increase. 

The Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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