RackWare unveils first formal channel program

RackWare is not yet using distribution in North America, but distributors growing role as cloud aggregators or brokers means they will likely look at this next year.


Eric Sherman, RackWare’s president of worldwide sales

Santa Clara CA-based cloud management provider RackWare has announced its first formal channel partner program, which is designed for both service providers and VARs.

RackWare is a startup, founded in 2009, whose software integrates cloud and data resources to add intelligence and automation to the cloud, facilitating workload portability and scalability. They make application stacks portable between physical, public, private and hybrid clouds in any situation. The most recent version of their RackWare Management Module cloud management solution, RMM 3.0, added a disaster recovery component to the original offering.

“We have had partners but not a truly formalized partner program, because that was how things developed as an early stage startup,” said Eric Sherman, RackWare’s president of worldwide sales. “However, over the last year or so, we have acquired just north of 200 customers, and service provider and VAR partners, and we got requests for a program from partners. It made sense with all this organic growth to wrap this into an organic partner program and define our channel philosophy.”

That philosophy is very much a value channel rather than a volume channel.

“Our goal isn’t to have thousands of partners, but is to have the right amount of coverage in every territory,” Sherman said. “Today we are about 50-50 direct versus indirect. Moving ahead, we would like to get it to 60-70% channel, which I think is realistic.

Partnership falls into two categories – service providers and VARs. Sherman said another way of looking at it is straight reseller versus OEM or white label, the latter of which tend to be the service providers.

“Today we are just south of twenty partners, most of whom are in the cloud,” Sherman said. These include IBM SoftLayer, CenturyLink, QTS, Peer 1, OnRamp, Pea Soup, Entisys and MBS Tech Services. Sherman said that while they want to expand that number, the goal isn’t simply expanding the number of partners.

“It’s about developing close relationships with partners delivering good solid revenue numbers,” he said.

Margins and discounts in the program are determined by volumes and revenues. There is an emphasis on joint marketing, business planning and training, the latter of which can be done online or in person.

“We really want to work hand in hand with our partners,” Sherman said. “Our territory directors work hand in hand with partners to support them on sales and marketing, which includes active marketing seminars done jointly.”

While RackWare is using distribution in Asia-Pacific, they are not using distribution in North America, yet.

“While we are not using distribution in North America today, I think that may come into play next year,” Sherman said. “Distributors are becoming cloud aggregators or brokers as well as technology distributors so there is an interesting route to market opportunity there. We will look at that seriously next year.”