Stratoscale, which emphasizes its ability to deliver cloud economics to the data centre – rather than the hyperconverged nature of its technology – also made the formal announcement of its PartnerFirst Program for its channel, which is its sole route to market.
Stratoscale, whose Stratoscale Symphony leverages a single software stack across the cloud, has announced a North American distribution relationship with Ingram Micro, and a partner program to support its channel. The Ingram deal has actually been in effect for several months, and is about to be formally launched in Canada.
Stratoscale, which has U.S. offices in Marlborough MA and main offices and R&D facilities in Israel, came out of stealth a year ago, and launched its Stratoscale Symphony software solution in December. While they initially positioned themselves as a hyper-converged player that soon changed, and now they are emphasizing how their software transforms cloud computing in the data centre.
“The hyper-converged term has become associated with hardware, and specifically storage,” said Ariel Maislos, Stratoscale’s CEO and cofounder. “We are trying to help enterprises and service providers position for the software-defined data centre, and we see hyper-converged as the implementation paradigm for this.”
The Ingram Micro relationship is designed to increase significantly the flexibility of Stratoscale’s channel partners in designing solutions customized for their customers.
“With customers deploying more capacity, storage, and compute, life is easier for partners if we give them ability to use their hardware of choice,” Maislos said. “We have partnered with Ingram to put together SKUs that are very channel friendly, with true flexibility in the hardware configuration. We are doing it with a variety of OEMs, so they can use the best solution for their customers, and we are giving them the ability to offer more memory, more disk, more flash or other customization.”
“Ingram will get our technology to the end user in a way that’s easy to configure and deploy,” said Michael Richards, Director of Channels at Stratoscale. “These bundles will allow the VAR and the end user to pick and play which bundle they want.”
While the announcement is just being made now, Stratoscale has been engaged with Ingram for several months on both the technology and go-to-market fronts in the U.S through a soft launch.
“Ingram has been a great partner for us,” Richards said. “This quarter alone, we have 12 new partners through them.”
The relationship with Ingram has not yet become live in Canada, but that is about to change.
“We are just finalizing the arrangement with Ingram in Canada,” Richards said. “The ink is drying right now. There is nothing to prevent a Canadian VAR from ordering us now through Ingram.”
Richards said they are looking to Ingram for two main things.
“Ingram provides us with their integration capabilities, and they help vendors like us find the appropriate VARs,” he said. “But while VAR recruitment is huge for us, we aren’t taking a shotgun approach and signing up anyone who shows interest. We are sticking to a quality over quantity approach, and keeping those numbers small to avoid creating a competitive situation for resellers We are very strategic about who we are inviting to participate in our program.”
That PartnerFirst program, the second component of Ingram’s announcement, is a formalization of benefits it has already been offering its channel. The program provides support for partners as they work with Stratoscale’s own sales people while they develop their own expertise.
“To start, our associates will have to do a lot of heavy lifting for the VARs, and we will give them the technical and marketing support they need,” Richards said. “We have our own lead generation team, and since we are 100 per cent channel, all our leads go to the VARs. We also provide them with deal registration and pricing protection.”
Stratoscale is not, however, requiring its partners to be trained and certified.
“We have not gone down the certification path for a reason,” Richards indicated. “We don’t want to put barriers in to partners as they come on board and we don’t want to take any of their techs off the street. We vet and quality them when accept them as partners. Part of the Ingram relationship means we are on their website, but not every VAR will have access to our technology. A VAR won’t be buying it unless we approve that VAR.”
Richards also stated that Stratoscale will be making a major channel push in Canada this year.
“We have this model in place to make it easier for Canadian VARs to come on board,” he said.