Ingram’s cloud: What’s ready for Canada and what’s not

Renee Bergeron Ingram Micro

Ingram Micro cloud and services exec Renée Bergeron

Ingram Micro announced so many new cloud partnerships at its recent Cloud Summit it Phoenix that it was, as the cliché goes, hard to tell the players without a program.

Along with the formal transition of the distributor’s Ingram Micro Cloud Web site from a marketplace into a transactional engine, Ingram announced a number of partnerships for products to be offered up to partners interested in the cloud.

We caught up with Ingram cloud and managed services chief (and fellow Canadian) Renée Bergeron to see which of the new offerings are ready to fly in Canada, which will soon be available in the True North Strong and Free, and which new partnerships don’t yet have their passport for cross-border travel.

Here’s the rundown of what’s available for Canadian partners, what’s not here yet, and what’s not intended for the Canadian market at all.

  • SherWeb – Ingram’s first specifically Canadian cloud partnership, the company is touted as the fastest-growing hosted Exchange provider in Canada. Featured on Ingram’s Cloud Marketplace, the company is focused on Canadian services for Canadian customers.
  • N-able – Another Canadian company, Ingram will offer the Ottawa-based vendor’s RMM tools for service providers that want to manage their customers’ environments. It’s a pan-North American agreement.
  • Trend Micro – The distributor will offer Trend’s Worry Free Business Security in both the U.S. and Canada.
  • Siemens – Ingram will offer Siemens’ unified communications offerings to the channel. The plan is to roll out in the U.S. initially, but Bergeron said the distributor and vendor are “already in discussion” about supporting Canadian customers.
  • Cisco – Under this agreement, Ingram and Cisco will work together to build a hosted unified communications solution out of Cisco’s WebEx online service and its historically on-premise unified communications tools.
  • Symantec – Ingram’s deal to offer Symantec Endpoint Protection via its Cloud Marketplace is U.S.-only right now, but Bergeron said it “will come to Canada in the future.”
  • VMware – Another U.S.-only (for the moment) deal, but Bergeron said there were plans to bring it to Canada in the future.
  • BMC – Ingram will offer the software company’s RemedyForce service desk offering, but it’s a U.S.-only affair.

Along with all the new partnerships, Ingram announced plans to “take the marketplace to the next level,” as Bergeron put it. The plan is to take it from an information and education Web site to a place where Ingram VARs can go to provide, provision, manage and invoice any and all of the Ingram-offered cloud services they offer their end users. Currently, the distributor is building out the APIs that will make it all work, with the intention being to roll the new site out to a “limited subset of North American resellers” in Q3 for a quarter-long pilot, prior to going live to the whole Ingram community towards the end of the year.

Looking at the lineup of partnerships, there are some obvious competitors – including security foes Trend Micro and Symantec, and SherWeb and any of the number of hosted messaging partners Ingram already has on board, including Intermedia and Microsoft itself with its BPOS/Office 365 offering.

Bergeron said the company’s strategy is “to be the leading cloud aggregator for the channel” in both breadth and depth, and as such, will offer competing products where there’s some differentiation. For example, while Office 365, Intermedia and SherWeb may all look very similar to the end user when it comes to hosted Exchange, they go to market in different ways and offer substantially different focuses and abilities to solution providers. And the security foes are very different offerings, with Trend’s offering being largely for cloud service providers to run in their own NOCs, while Symantec’s Endpoint Protection is more focused on the cloud service broker offering desktop services to end users.

The Cisco partnership is also worth mentioning, as Cisco has made it clear any time there’s a partner audience listening that it has no intentions of competing with its service provider partners. Likewise, Bergeron said Ingram’s “missions is not to become a service provider,” but it’s taking an opportunistic view. “When it’s the right thing to do for the market, we’ll do it,” she said. And that includes working with Cisco on making its largely on-prem communications solutions a hosted offering.

Ingram has done this once before, under its Seismic managed services banner, when it worked with Ottawa’s Level Platforms to make Level’s remote management tools available to MSPs on a SaaS basis. In fact, Ingram at first hosted the solution itself until it “made sense for Level to build their own SaaS offering.”

“Where it allows us to bring a differentiated solution to market, we’ll do it,” Bergeron said.