Cloudistics looks to drive growth with Lenovo partnership and new tools

Cloud software platform provider Cloudistics has had a strong year, both increasing their own channel significantly and entering into a new partnership with Lenovo. Their software now powers the Lenovo ThinkAgile CP Series, which has a joint go-to-market motion, and Cloudistics expects it will significantly expand their business, outside of North America in particular.

Dan Mroz, Cloudistics’ VP of Worldwide Marketing

It has been a strong year for cloud software platform company Cloudistics. The company signed what they expect will be a huge partnership with Lenovo, which saw Cloudistics’ software launched with Lenovo hardware as the ThinkAgile CP Series composable cloud platform, a ‘cloud-in-a-box’ private cloud offering. They added the capabilities of three new integrated tools to their software: Access Manager, Metering Manager, and Migration Manager, with the latter being the most important of the three. They formally launched a Cloudistics Application Marketplace integrated within their SaaS cloud controller with dozens of pre-built, ready-to-run, reusable application and OS templates. In addition, the number of Cloudistics customers grew by 400 per cent over the prior year, and the number of partners increased by 55, to raise that number by over 50 per cent.

Cloudistics competes with hyperconverged vendors and other virtualization platforms, but while they were initially dubbed an HCI vendor when they came out of the gate, they say the term was a misnomer in their case.

“We were never really an HCI vendor from an architectural perspective,” said Dan Mroz, Cloudistics’ VP of Worldwide Marketing. “We keep network, compute and storage separate and don’t cluster compute or storage. It’s all federated.”

Cloudistics did change their branding this year – more specifically the sub-branding of their product. Their SaaS Cloud Controller used to be called Ignite, and that term was recently dropped.

“We now have just the one single brand, Cloudistics,” Mroz said.

The really big news for Cloudistics was launched in July, with a collaboration with Lenovo on what is now the Lenovo ThinkAgile CP Series. It combines Lenovo hardware with Cloudistics software to offer a turnkey private cloud that can be flexibly managed from anywhere through a SaaS portal. The Cloudistics software provides fully integrated high availability, backup, remote replication, usage metering, live help and support and multilayered, multitenant security.

“This is huge for us,” Mroz stated. “The real low-hanging fruit for this is the service provider space, but its really for anyone who wants the private cloud attributes, including SMEs who want to get out of managing hardware, as well as large enterprises.”

The ThinkAgile CP Series will be sold by Cloudistics as well as by Lenovo, but as Lenovo is the much larger company, they were able and willing to put resources into the go-to-market motion that Cloudistics expects will have a major impact.

“Lenovo put a big investment into creating a dedicated CP team,” Mroz indicated. “This included the creation of a CP Select program, which we and Lenovo run jointly, and which includes both sales and sales engineering components. Current Lenovo channel partners that want to develop this business can join, and receive some additional incentives, but they also have to invest. We have seen really good momentum from this program since it was launched, especially outside North America. We were active in the EMEA market and in South America before, but the CP Series just came out in Europe and Africa and they are adopting it there. The APJ region is next and the signs are that it will be big there.”

Cloudistics sells the ThinkAgile CP Series alongside its software running on other platforms, with the choice of hardware being up to the customer.

“We are a software company, and we talk about software,” Mroz said. “It’s up to the customer to determine what they want from a hardware perspective. If Lenovo brings us into a customer though, it’s always a completely CP Series deal.”

ThinkAgile CP Series customers have full access to the Application Marketplace, which Cloudistics formally launched in February, and which they enhanced during the year.

“We made a lot of enhancements in our 4.1 release to the APIs, and also responded to some specific requests from customers on particular backup tools,” Mroz indicated. “The ecosystem has grown because customers like the ability to grab a hardened image from the Marketplace, and they see value in that.”

Three new integrated tools were added to the software in September, Migration Manager, Access Manager and Metering Manager.

“All of them existed in a less feature-rich form before, and all three tools run as add-ons with no additional cost,” Mroz said. “They provide additional functionality, although not every user will need all of the new capabilities. Migration Manager is the big one of the three. Before, users could import images one at a time. Now they can do real-time migrations from legacy VMware environments to Cloudistics. Not everyone needs very granular role-based access controls, but Access Manager extends the functionality for those who do. Similarly, there are already a lot of analytics inside the platform, but if you need to do more granular things around monitoring and tracking resource consumption down to the application and virtual data centre levels, Metering Manager will let you do that.”

The 400 per cent increase in customer growth over the preceding year involved a variety of use cases, and included replacing legacy VMware and Hyper-V platforms, while competing successfully against HCI offerings because of the ability to add compute independently from storage. The number of solution provider and service provider partnerships grew by 57 per cent, which translated into 55 new partners.

While the CP Select Program with Lenovo is having a major impact, Cloudistics is considering making changes to its own three-tier Accelerate program to better align with it.

“We are thinking about realigning our own program to better complement CP Select, which is managed by Lenovo, while keeping our own identity,” Mroz indicated.

Looking forward to 2019, Cloudistics sees that Lenovo partnership as a critical driver in the business.

“It will serve us well in additional geos, especially APJ,” he said. “We also will add additional hybrid functionality, and expect to see steady growth continue with our channel.”