IT Channel Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing IT channels and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

  • A

    administrator code

    In government contracting, an administrator code (AC), like a buyer code (BC), is a code assigned to each Post Award Administrator. It is generally referenced on the cover sheet of the award.

  • Apple Authorized Reseller (AAR)

    An Apple Authorized Reseller (AAR) is a business partner that has entered into a contractual relationship with Apple Computer Inc., to sell software and/or hardware products.

  • Apple Authorized Service Provider (Apple AASP)

    An Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) is a business that provides repair services for Apple products.

  • application rationalization (AR)

    Application rationalization is the process of identifying which business applications should be kept, replaced, retired or consolidated across an organization to improve business operations.

  • AT&T Synaptic Compute as a Service

    AT&T Synaptic Compute as a Service is an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering that allows software developers and business customers to access virtualized servers in an AT&T data center on a pay-per-use basis. 

  • authorized service provider (ASP)

    An authorized service provider (ASP) is an organization that a product manufacturer has deemed qualified to service products covered under the manufacturer's warranty.

  • Automated Best Value System (ABVS)

    Automated Best Value System is a calculated formula that assesses past performance based on quality, delivery and packaging performance.

  • automated provisioning

    Automated provisioning is the ability to deploy an information technology or telecommunications service by using predefined procedures that are carried out electronically without requiring human intervention.

  • B

    backside bus

    In a personal computer with an Intel processor chipset that includes a Dual Independent Bus (DIB), the frontside bus is the data path and physical interface between the processor and the main memory (RAM).

  • best and final offer

    For negotiated procurements, a contractor's final offer following the conclusion of discussions.

  • break/fix

    For IT services companies, break/fix is a method of providing IT support to customers. Services are generally fee-based and rely on a customer contacting the IT services company when repairs and upgrades are needed.

  • broad agency announcement (BAA)

    A broad agency announcement (BAA) is a notice from the government that requests scientific or research proposals from private firms concerning certain areas of interest to the government.

  • C

    channel captain

    A channel captain is the individual or organization responsible for managing a particular distribution channel and overseeing channel partnerships. The channel captain is usually a channel member.

  • channel conflict

    Channel conflict is a situation in which channel partners have to compete against one another or a vendor's internal sales department.

  • channel partner

    A channel partner is a person or organization that provides services or sells products on behalf of a software, hardware, networking or cloud services vendor. Value-added resellers (VARs), systems integrators (SIs), consultants, managed service providers (MSPs), original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), distributors and independent software vendors (ISVs) may all be called channel partners.

  • channel partner portal

    A channel partner portal is a web-based application that provides a vendor's established partners (usually distributors, resellers, service providers or other strategic partners) with access to deal registration, marketing resources, pricing and sales information for products and services, as well as technical details and support that are unavailable to other end users.

  • channel partner rules of engagement (ROE)

    Channel partner rules of engagement are a component of the sales relationship between an IT vendor and its channel partner community.

  • channel strategy

    A channel strategy is a vendor's plan for moving a product or a service through the chain of commerce to the end customer.

  • Cisco Cloud Builder

    Cisco Cloud Builder is one of three tracks within the Cisco Cloud Partner Program. The other two tracks of the program are Cloud Provider and Cloud Services Reseller.

  • Cisco Cloud Partner Program

    The Cisco Cloud Partner Program is an initiative by Cisco to help its channel partners enter the cloud computing marketplace. The Cisco Cloud Partner Program consists of three tracks: Cloud Builder, Cloud Provider and Cloud Services Reseller.

  • Citrix Cloud Provider Program

    The Citrix Cloud Provider Program is an invitation-only partner program for cloud computing service providers.

  • Citrix Solution Advisor

    Citrix Solution Advisor is Citrix Systems Inc.'s global channel partner program for partners who plan, design, implement and maintain Citrix products for customers.

  • clean install

    A clean install is a software installation in which any previous version is removed.

  • cloud adaptor

    A cloud adaptor is a software utility that controls the transfer of information between local back office systems and a cloud provider.

  • cloud aggregator

    A cloud aggregator is a type of cloud broker that packages and integrates multiple cloud computing services into one or more composite services.

  • cloud broker

    A cloud broker is a third-party individual or business that acts as an intermediary between the purchaser of a cloud computing service and the sellers of that service.  

  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud integrator

    A cloud integrator is a product or service that helps a business negotiate the complexities of cloud migrations. 

  • cloud marketplace

    A cloud marketplace is an online storefront, operated by a cloud provider, through which customers may subscribe to Software as a Service (SaaS) applications that are built on, integrate with or complement the cloud provider's main infrastructure, platform or software service.

  • cloud portability

    Cloud portability is the ability to move applications and data from one cloud computing environment to another with minimal disruption.

  • cloud provider API

    A cloud provider API is an application program interface that allows the end user to interact with a cloud provider's service. 

  • cloud provisioning

    Cloud provisioning is the allocation of a cloud provider's resources and services to a customer.

  • cloud service provider (cloud provider)

    A cloud service provider, or CSP, is a company that offers some component of cloud computing -- typically infrastructure as a service, software as a service or platform as a service -- to other businesses or individuals.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional services that support the deployment of such cloud-based resources.

  • cloud services reseller

    A cloud services reseller is a middleman who facilitates commerce between a cloud service provider and the marketplace.

  • co-selling

    Co-selling is an approach to product and service distribution in which channel partners are the primary route to market.

  • CompTIA practice test (Computing Technology Industry Association practice test)

    The CompTIA practice test (Computing Technology Industry Association practice test) is a sample exam designed to prepare technology professionals and students for a CompTIA certification exam.

  • computing arbitrage

    Computing arbitrage is a cloud services business model in which a company purchases computing resources -- typically a large block of bandwidth – at wholesale rates and offers it in smaller packages, with a greater cumulative value, to other companies.

  • contract delivery date (CDD)

    A contract delivery date (CDD) is the date of delivery required by a contract. CDD is specified on a line item basis.

  • CONUS (continental United States)

    Refers to the continental United States. To state that delivery is CONUS is to say that delivery could be anywhere in the continental U.S.

  • corporate account manager (CAM)

    In the channel, a corporate account manager (CAM) is responsible for maintaining the relationship between the clients of a value-added reseller (VAR) and the VAR. In this role, a CAM may be responsible for an entire portfolio of client relationships in multiple locations. Corporate account managers serve as the primary contact for the client, which emphasizes the need for both excellent customer skills and a thorough knowledge of the channel.

  • IT consultant

    A consultant is an experienced individual in a given field who provides expert advice for a fee. Consultants typically work as independent contractors and are hired on a short-term basis. A consultant may also be an employee at a consulting firm.

  • D

    data recovery agent (DRA)

    A data recovery agent (DRA) is a Microsoft Windows user who has been granted the right to decrypt data that was encrypted by other users. The assignment of DRA rights to an approved individual provides an IT department with a way to unlock encrypted data in case of an emergency.

  • database activity monitoring (DAM)

    Database activity monitoring (DAM) systems monitor and record activity in a database and then generate alerts for anything unusual.

  • deal forwarding

    Deal forwarding is a process or technology that facilitates the exchange of information about bargains for merchandise... (Continued)

  • deal registration

    Deal registration is a common feature of vendors' channel partner programs in which a channel partner, such as a value-added reseller (VAR), informs the vendor about a sales lead.

  • Defense Acquisition Regulatory Council (DARC)

    The Defense Acquisition Regulatory Council (DARC) is a group composed of representatives from each Military department, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration... (Continued)

  • Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA)

    The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) is a component of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) that works with defense contractors to ensure government services and supplies are delivered on time, come at the expected cost and satisfy all performance requirements.

  • Dell EMC Partner Program

    The Dell EMC Partner Program is an international channel partner program that provides partners with business development, sales and marketing resources.

  • direct market reseller (DMR)

    A direct market reseller (DMR), also known as an e-tailer, is a company that sells directly to consumers online without operating storefront operations of any kind... (Continued)

  • distribution channel

    A distribution channel is the network of individuals and organizations involved in getting a product or service from the producer to the customer. Distribution channels are also known as marketing channels or marketing distribution channels.

  • distributor agreement (distribution agreement)

    A distributor agreement, also known as a distribution agreement, is a contract between channel partners that stipulates the responsibilities of both parties.

  • Dolphin ALE

    Dolphin ArchiveLink Enabler (ALE) is an SAP ABAP add-on that allows SAP applications to use AT&T Synaptic Storage as a Service cloud servers as an ArchiveLink repository.

  • E

    EMC cloud architect certification (EMCCA)

    EMC Cloud Architect Certification (EMCCA) is a certification and training offering by storage vendor EMC on high-level cloud architecture and design concepts.

  • Eucalyptus

    Eucalyptus is an open source software platform for implementing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in a private or hybrid cloud computing environment.

  • F

    fair and reasonable price

    A fair and reasonable price is the price point for a good or service that is fair to both parties involved in the transaction.

  • Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)

    Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is the body of laws that govern the U.S. Federal Government's procurement process. These laws are prepared, issued and maintained under the joint auspices of the Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of General Services Administration (GAO and the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Responsibility for maintenance and revision of the FAR is vested jointly in the Defense Acquisition Regulatory Council (DARC) and the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council. (CAAC).

  • feedback loop

    A feedback loop is a system where some portion or all of the output produced by the system returns as input, effecting the succeeding processes of that system in some way.

  • freemium

    Freemium is a way of promoting services by offering the basic features at no cost, charging a premium only for supplemental features. The term, which is a combination of the words 'free' and 'premium,' was coined by Jarid Lukin of Alacra in 2006 after venture capitalist Fred Wilson came up with the idea... (Continued)

  • full and open competition

    With respect to a contract action, "full and open" competition means that all responsible sources are permitted to compete.

  • Full Packaged Product (FPP)

    Full Packaged Product (FPP) is the retail version of a Microsoft licensed product. FPPs are sold in stores in shrink-wrapped boxes.

  • G

    GB billing

    In the telecommunications industry, gigabyte (GB) billing is a form of Internet usage-based billing determined by how many GBs of bandwidth are used by a customer across an Internet service provider's (ISP's) network.

  • go-to-market strategy (GTM strategy)

    A go-to-market strategy (GTM strategy) is an action plan that specifies how a company will reach target customers and achieve competitive advantage.

  • H

    Hardware as a Service (HaaS)

    Hardware as a Service (HaaS) is a service provision model for hardware that is defined differently in managed services and grid computing contexts... (Continued)

  • Hardware as a Service (in grid computing)

    Hardware as a Service (Haas), in a grid computing context, is a pay-as-you-go model for accessing a provider's infrastructure and CPU power... (Continued)

  • hardware-as-a-service (in managed services)

    Hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) is a procurement model that is similar to leasing or licensing in which hardware that belongs to a managed service provider (MSP) is installed at a customer's site and a service level agreement (SLA) defines the responsibilities of both parties.

  • hosted services

    Hosted services are applications, IT infrastructure components or functions that organizations access from external service providers, typically through an internet connection.

  • HP Channel Services Network (HP CSN)

    HP Channel Services Network (HP CSN) is a Web-based management system and membership program for HP's authorized channel service partners.

  • HP CloudAgile Service Provider Program

    HP CloudAgile Service Provider Program is an initiative aimed at cloud and telecommunication providers, hosting service providers, system integrators and value-added resellers (VARs) in the cloud market.

  • HP Partner First Program (formerly HP PartnerOne program)

    HP Partner First is a channel partner program that provides resources and benefits for value-added resellers (VARs), systems integrators (SIs), service providers, hosting providers, independent software vendors (ISVs), distributors and other businesses that want to collaborate with HP Inc.

  • HPE Partner Ready Program

    The HPE Partner Ready Program is a global partner program that rewards and supports Hewlett Packard Enterprise's channel alliances.

  • I

    IBM

    IBM (International Business Machines) ranks among the world's largest information technology companies, providing a wide spectrum of hardware, software and services offerings.

  • IBM PartnerWorld

    IBM PartnerWorld is a program run by IBM that outlines how the company works with IBM Business Partners such as VARs, systems integrators, managed service providers, consultants and independent software vendors.

  • Intel Technology Provider

    The Intel Technology Provider program is Intel Corp.'s partner program designed to support the sales and marketing efforts of channel partners who specify, design, build or resell Intel-based technology products.

  • ion pump

    An ion pump is a device that can cool, clean and filter air without the use of conventional fans or other moving parts... (Continued)

  • ISV (independent software vendor)

    An ISV (independent software vendor) makes and sells software products that run on one or more computer hardware or operating system (OS) platforms.

  • IT distributor

    An IT channel distributor is a business that acts as an intermediary between vendors and value-added resellers (VARs) or system integrators (SIs) in the distribution of software or hardware.

  • IT reseller

    An IT reseller is an intermediary entity in the distribution channel that purchases software and/or hardware from the manufacturer or some other entity, such as a wholesaler or a distributor, and sells it to consumers.

  • J

    Jamcracker

    Jamcracker Services Delivery Network (JSDN) is a platform for purchasing and managing public and private cloud computing services.

  • K

    keyword stuffing

    Keyword stuffing is the practice of inserting a large number of keywords into Web page content and meta tags in the attempt to artificially increase the page's ranking in search results.

  • L

    Large Account Reseller (LAR)

    A large account reseller (LAR) is a label used by Microsoft to identify its largest value-added resellers (VARs). 

  • lead generator

    A lead generator is any marketing-related activity intended to publicize the availability of a vendor's product or service...(Continued)

  • line card

    A line card is: 1) A printed brochure that lists the names, descriptions and the manufacturers of products sold by a third party, like a distributor, sales representative or value-added reseller (VAR). 2) An electronic circuit on a circuit board that interfaces between subscribers to a telecommunications network and the rest of the network.

  • M

    managed hosting

    Managed hosting is an IT provisioning model in which a service provider leases dedicated servers and associated hardware to a single customer and manages those systems on the customer's behalf.

  • managed IT service

    Managed IT services are tasks related to information technology that are completed by a third-party contractor. There are many different types of managed IT service offerings, but the idea behind all of them is to transfer the burden of maintaining IT from the customer to the service provider.

  • managed network security services

    Managed network security services are third-party service providers, solution providers or value-added resellers that can be hired to outsource tasks or processes related to network security.

  • Managed security service provider (MSSP)

    A managed security service provider (MSSP) is an IT service provider that provides an organization with some amount of cybersecurity monitoring and management, which may include virus and spam blocking, intrusion detection, firewalls and virtual private network (VPN) management.

  • managed service provider (MSP)

    A managed service provider (MSP) is a company that remotely manages a customer's IT infrastructure and/or end-user systems, typically on a proactive basis and under a subscription model.

  • market development funds (MDF)

    Market development funds (MDF) are a resource that a vendor grants to its indirect sales channel partners to help the channel with sales and marketing programs.

  • Microsoft Intune

    Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based enterprise mobility management tool that aims to help organizations manage the mobile devices employees use to access corporate data and applications, such as email.

  • monthly recurring revenue (MRR)

    Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is income a company can reliably anticipate every 30 days and one of the key metrics for channel partner companies.

  • MSP platform (managed service provider platform)

    A managed service provider (MSP) platform is a computing framework used to deliver network-based services, applications, and equipment to enterprises, residences, or other service providers. A MSP platform allows an organization, IT consultant or VAR to remotely monitor servers, firewalls, Exchange servers, Active Directory Servers, routers or switches from a central location.

  • N

    NetApp Insight

    NetApp Insight is an annual technical conference series for NetApp, a computer storage and data management company. 

  • not for resale (NFR)

    Not for resale (NFR) is a designation for products that vendors give to their channel partners for testing and educational purposes with the understanding that the channel partner will not resell those products.

  • O

    OEM (original equipment manufacturer)

    OEM, or original equipment manufacturer, is a broad term that describes a web of relationships among IT hardware vendors, hardware component makers, software vendors and channel partners such as resellers and distributors.

  • Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN)

    Oracle PartnerNetwork, also known as OPN, is a channel partner program that provides resources and benefits for value-added resellers, independent software vendors and other businesses that want to collaborate with Oracle.

  • P

    partner

    A partner is a member in a partnership, an entity in which both the profits or losses of a business or other venture are shared between all members. Corporations favor partnerships because of a taxation structure that eliminates dividend taxes upon the profits of owners. (Continued)

  • partner account manager (PAM)

    A partner account manager is a job title within a vendor organization that uses channel partners to sell its products or services.

  • partner program

    A partner program, which may also be referred to as channel partner program or alliance program, is a business strategy that vendors develop to encourage others to work with the vendor and sell its products or services.

  • partner specialization

    A partner specialization is a designation achieved when a value-added reseller, integrator or solution provider has demonstrated a particular expertise specified by its vendor.

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