The distributor’s major announcement at CompTIA is not, however, available in Canada yet.
At the CompTIA ChannelCon event in Chicago, distributor Ingram Micro said skies are sunny for its Canadian business, and a lot of that is Microsoft related.
“A lot of synergies are happening,” said Jason Bystrak, Executive Director for Ingram Micro Cloud for The Americas. Part of it is the growth that is happening in our Office 365 program. Part of it is the upcoming expansion of their of their data centres in early 2016. Data residency is absolutely a concern out there in the market in Canada, and we lose some business at time because of those issues. We have certainly had more success with companies with Canadian datacentres.”
Bystrak said that the expansion of Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, announced last month at Microsoft’s WPC event, will also drive Ingram’s business in Canada. The CSP program , which lets Microsoft partners retain full control over customers when they sell Microsoft cloud products, was introduced last year, but initially it only covered larger partners who could meet Microsoft’s required mandate of 24/7 customer support. Now any Canadian solution providers are eligible, as long as they work through the distributors or hosting companies approved for Canada. Ingram Micro is on that distributor list (along with Tech Data, and SYNNEX, and hosting companies SherWeb and Ceryx.
“We are required by Microsoft to provide an automated marketplace and post-sales support,” Bystrak said. “We are providing the services for this globally, not just for Canada, from an office down on Bay Street.”
Bystrak stated there is still considerable confusion among partners how to best build their cloud model, which they can address with this CSP support.
“We have invested in significantly in both front end automation and in back end and post-sales support,” he said. “Microsoft doesn’t support post-sales here. It has to come through the CSP. We want to make sure channel partners have a full end-to-end view of that. We’ve invested in it and we think it’s the right business model and that the channel partner should vet out their CSP partner.”
Ingram Micro also made a couple related cloud announcements of their own at WPC. They announced a new enhancement to the Cloud Marketplace automates the process by which channel partners can easily Office 365 Advisor subscriptions to the CSP program. It is available in Canada as well as the U.S. and Mexico at this point, and will be expanded elsewhere soon.
Ingram Micro also announced the availability of the Cloud Store, a feature which lets select channel partners create and manage a private-labelled B2C online cloud store, as an extension of their existing website.
“Because Cloud Store is B2C, partners who want to do this will be able to extend their cloud marketplace to the end user,” Bystrak said.
Unfortunately, the big news Ingram Micro announced around the CompTIA event itself isn’t relevant to Canada, at this time anyway. Ingram announced they have been named an aggregator for the VMware vCloud Air Network Managed Service Provider (MSP) – but only in the U.S. market.
“It’s not yet in Canada,” Bystrak said. “It is very significant, however. If you want to host cloud solutions, you can consume VMware software licensing in a monthly subscription, paying for it monthly, so it aligns with end user contracts.”
Earlier this year, VMware gave service providers access to the vCloud Air Network, as a managed service through vCloud Air Network service providers.
“This is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service solution hosted in their data centre, and Ingram being an aggregrator bridges to it more effectively,” Bystrak added. “You can burst into the IaaS and consume it with the same process, and Ingram gives you a single bill to work this out, which will make it easier to add resources when needed.”
Ingram’s expansion of its training is also having strong effects in Canada, said Greg Richey, director, Professional and Training Services at Ingram Micro.
“We have expanded our technical training capability immensely,” Richey said. “We have been giving the message that our resellers have to transform, but as a disti we have to help our resellers figure out where to go. To a large degree we use our education business for this. For instance, we have created evangelical video on-demand products so they can get how the [Cisco-IBM] Versastack infrastructure is important, so they can champion that to customers. Canada was a market leader for Ingram here in driving that conversation.”
Richey also touted the recent expansion of Ingram Micro Link to app developers.
“We have had the Link tool on the professional services side for almost 20 years, a marketplace that is by and between our resellers,” he said. “This year we jazzed it up to accommodate all the changes in the market in areas like Big Data, mobility, and cloud integration and migration. It used to be printer break-fix things. Now we have extended it with expert app developers, to connect solution providers with skilled specialists.
— with files from Robert Dutt