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Docker partner program expands to meet enterprise, ecosystem demand

Docker's updated partner program offers a formal engagement option for resellers. Docker also split partner membership into two tiers.

Docker Inc. has opened the gates to resellers with the latest update of its channel program, which also adds a new program structure and training resources.

Launched this week, the expansion of the Docker partner program introduced two tiers, Professional and Premier, to better reflect and reward partners' expertise and investments in Docker practices. Enhanced program benefits include "a more robust partner portal, with a lot of content and knowledge transfer," as well as scalable training and accreditation, said Alan Geary, senior director of channels and alliances at Docker, based in San Francisco. Accreditations cover sales, presales, technical and consulting areas.

"[The expansion is] the ramp-up of our focus on the channel [and] our ability to scale with the channel, and it is a direct response to the demand we're seeing [for Docker's commercial Datacenter platform] in the first couple quarters of this year," Geary said. "With that demand comes the need to engage even broader."

According to David Messina, Docker's vice president of enterprise marketing, the channel has always played a central role in the company's growth strategy. Citing as a driver the mainstream adoption of Docker Datacenter in the enterprise market, Messina said the company wanted to "take our learnings, the best practices, and [create] a tiered [channel program] structure around it."

Geary noted Docker does business with consultants, resellers, training partners, global system integrators and managed service providers.

Up until now, Docker hadn't had a formal reseller program, but interest from traditional infrastructure resellers moving into converged infrastructuresoftware-defined networking and cloud engagements manifested the need for one, he said. The reseller program allows partners that meet requirements to sell Docker Datacenter subscriptions in the North American and EMEA markets.

Making distribution and commercial availability of products a priority, Docker selected Synnex Corp. as its exclusive North American distributor. Additionally, the vendor will open European distribution in the fourth quarter with a group of distributors yet to be named. Partners focused on the U.S. federal market can tap distributors Synnex, Immix and Vizuri, each a General Services Administration schedule holder for Docker.

"As we roll out distribution, we are enabling resellers to proactively engage, quote and close Docker Datacenter subscription business," Geary said.

As we roll out distribution, we are enabling resellers to proactively engage, quote and close Docker Datacenter subscription business.
Alan Gearysenior director of channels and alliances, Docker

For Nebulaworks, a technology advisory and consulting firm based in Irvine, Calif., the expansion of the Docker partner program couldn't have come sooner. Since signing up as a partner at VMworld 2014, Nebulaworks has made Docker a strategic part of its business, said CEO and co-founder Chris Ciborowski. "Our sole purpose is to help companies take IT to the next level. We believe DevOps is the right way to do that," he said.

Ciborowski noted when Nebulaworks engages an enterprise prospect, Docker is "one tool [with which] we set a stake in the sand and say, 'If there's anything you're going to do to start streamlining this set of processes in the supply chain and start optimizing it, this is the tool that you're going to need.'"

A Premier Docker partner, Nebulaworks has done training within organizations to discuss Docker's technology, setting a foundation for "a land-and-expand type of strategy," where "we can go up in the toolchain and we can go down the toolchain," he added.

While Nebulaworks is sufficient on the technical side, Ciborowski said he is interested in the marketing support Docker can provide.

Docker currently has 84 authorized partners. In terms of recruitment goals, Geary said the company anticipates onboarding 200 to 300 authorized partners at the Professional and Premier levels within the next 12 to 18 months. "That's our target to scale with the business. If we need to scale it quicker, we can," he said.

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