Four initial partners were invited to the program, and were required to take additional certifications and commit to co-hosting free Kubernetes training classes. In return, they will engage in joint sales and marketing opportunities with Rancher.
Cupertino CA-based Rancher Labs, which makes container management software, has announced the creation of a new specialized Platinum tier within their Rancher Partner Network program. The new tier, which starts with four partners with a heavy record of mutual commitment to Rancher, is focused primarily on joint marketing and sales opportunities with the vendor.
Rancher is an almost five year-old startup that makes a turnkey open source enterprise container management software platform, and they rolled out a partner program two years ago to support their channel. While the program initially supported all main orchestration tools for building and managing the clusters used to manage the Docker engine, since the program was created Kubernetes has exploded in popularity, becoming the de facto standard in the industry, and creating enormous new opportunities.
“The impact of the rise of Kubernetes has been phenomenal, both on the industry and on Rancher Labs,” said Peter Smails, Rancher Labs’ VP of Marketing. “Rancher has played an instrumental role in helping create this market and that Kubernetes community. Like any new technology, we have seen a very rapid evolution, from initially just the people at the tip of the spear to an enormous groundswell of interest. Enterprises are increasingly standardizing on Kubernetes. It’s no longer just for the developer community. It’s mainstreaming. The implications for us are huge because we are a means for running Kubernetes at scale across the enterprise.”
As a result, Smails said that there has been a lot of interest in Rancher.
“We don’t disclose revenue publicly, but two weeks ago we announced 161 per cent growth year-over-year, and our install base grew 52 per cent this year,” he noted.
That growth, Smails added, is related to the timing of the new Platinum tier, which becomes the fourth in Rancher’s program, joining Consulting, Reseller and MSP partners. Four partners were selected for the tier out of the gate: BoxBoat, CloudOps, Redapt, and RoundTower Technology.
Coming on the heels of record growth in the first half of 2019, the Platinum Program is an important next step in expanding Rancher’s enterprise go-to-market scale in the face of broad adoption of their solutions.
“With this explosion of Kubernetes, enterprises need trusted advisors to assist them, and that’s what the Platinum responds to,” Smails said. “We were focused on finding partners with a very deep bench and competency around Kubernetes, and invited them into this program, which involved them going through certifications. They have a proven track record, and made a commitment to Rancher in achieving the certifications. We are doubling down on those select organizations that have invested in us.”
Platinum partners need to have at least two certified technical champions who have completed this Rancher certification program. They also must commit to co-host five hands-on Rancher Rodeo training classes each calendar year. Rancher Rodeos are free, in-depth workshops to teach DevOps and IT teams the hands-on skills they need to deploy and manage Kubernetes.
“These were early adopters, who made a strategic investment and got a jump on the market,” Smails added. “That is not to saying that larger integrators won’t follow suit. It’s the way that the market is evolving. The Platinum program will expand going forward.”
Aside from the benefits of being able to identify themselves to customers as a Platinum partner, what’s the big win for partners here?
“The primary benefit is joint marketing and sales engagement, and lead sharing,” Smails said. This includes options for co-branded content.
Smails noted that these four partners were selected from what has become a fairly deep partner roster, given the age of the company and their specialized focus.
“We have about 150 or so partners in our main program,” he said. “We are a sizable organization. Our software has been downloaded over 100 million times, and we have over 30,000 users.”