Pax8 lays out strategy going forward

The born-in-the-cloud distributor’s new intiatives include a new endpoint solution with Symantec, as that vendor enhances its cloud portfolio. The company also has a unique dual platform strategy to help redefine cloud distribution.

Ryan Walsh Headshot

Ryan Walsh, Pax8’s SVP of Partner Solutions

Lone Tree Colorado-based cloud distributor Pax8 started up in 2012 on the proposition that cloud distribution was something that needed to be a purpose-built focus, not something that can be grafted on to a conventional distribution model. Their focus is on the SMB market, and their value proposition revolves in large part around two platforms. They have their own custom-designed cloud marketplace technology platform. They also, however, have access to a second platform – provided by German Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform provider ProfitBricks.

The Berlin-based cloud infrastructure services provider has expanded into the U.S., with two offices there, and Pax8 encountered them at an ASCII show.

“The two platforms are complementary,” said Ryan Walsh, Pax8’s SVP of Partner Solutions. “The ProfitBricks platform is ideal for the channel because it lets partners create virtual data centres for their customers. The Pax8 platform, on the other hand, is a marketplace platform that enables the delivery of those services, allowing a partner to buy, provision and build services. It’s easy to blur us in with what other people are doing so you can’t see the differentiation, but we have a very distinct value proposition.” The Pax8 platform has a single portal login for all vendors, and a single pane of glass for ordering, provisioning and billing.

Walsh said that even thought there were good third party platforms on the market, like Parallels’ Odin Cloud Automation platform, since acquired by Ingram Micro, Pax8 decided they would be better off building their own.

“We wanted a more channel-centric platform, and one which had a modern look and feel,” Walsh said. “We also thought that by building a platform to our own specs, we would have a simplified user experience as well as have more control over what it needs to be. It is one of the best decisions that we made.”

The Pax8 platform has also been extended in response to partner requests.

“We were asked to help migrate a partner’s customer base from one cloud server to another,” Ryan said. “Most of our products have APIs that let them be turned on automatically, but we needed to support migration as seamlessly as possible. So we extended our platform to support that migration. We had to work more closely with Symantec product managers to do more than we had been doing. We weren’t just turning on a product, but now also bringing data into it.”

Pax8’s initial business model, which is likely to change as they expand, was to work with a single vendor in each category and build them up successfully. Symantec, for instance, is their security vendor. Infrascale is their backup choice. IBM’s MaaS 360 does mobile management, Cloudjumper provides desktops-as-a-service

“We are on a cadence of adding a vendor a month,” Walsh said. “We are also adding a solution orientation to our platform so we can bundle multiple vendors’ products together. We poll our partners on what they are asking for, and we are presently seeing a shift to more mobility solutions.” While compatibility with the ProfitBricks platform is not necessary for new vendors, it is a decided plus.

Walsh said they will be adding a new endpoint product with Symantec as part of that vendor’s strategy to beef up its cloud offerings.

“We are working with Symantec closely to launch this new endpoint product, sometime in the fall,” he said. “This is a good example of where we will continue to evolve. Symantec is also making a better commitment to processing on a subscription basis. They have made upgrades to make it better and more seamless when you turn on their products. For some vendors, it takes time to have products, systems and business systems come together, and to have better reporting to align with compensation models. That’s been a really welcome thing, and a good example of how we can work with the vendors we select. In the Symantec case, our two development teams worked side by side to make sure that things went smoothly.”

Walsh also indicated that they are focusing on a Denver solution provider, Leaftech, as an example of what their redefining cloud distribution means to MSPs.

“Leaftech hadn’t jumped into the cloud, and there was an opportunity in shifting from managed Exchange to a hosted Exchange model,” he stated. “The cloud solution for him freed him from making a purchase and used a cloud vendor’s expertise to allow him to grow his business.

“One of the reasons we spotlight Leaftech is we think they represent the future,” Walsh added. “He didn’t stop there. He continued and saw that his embrace of additional cloud solutions helped him grow faster, and also helped him improve his relationship with his customers.”