Iland’s Canadian expansion is part of a series of new channel-focused initiatives which include a new partner portal and an enhancement of Catalyst, a cloud assessment tool used in pre-sales.
Houston-based iland has provided co-location and IP services for a quarter century and has nine data centres globally – three in the U.S. three in Europe, one in Asia and two in Australia. They have not had a data centre in Canada before. That is about to change, however. The company has announced plans to open a Canadian data centre later this year.
“While we started in Web hosting in 1985, that soon changed to co-location and IP services,” said Dante Orsini, iland’s SVP of Business Development.
The company also made a significant pivot in the early days of virtualization.
“Eleven years ago, when virtualization was first gaining strength, we wanted to provide more value, so we partnered with VMware, back in the pre-cloud days,” Orsini said. “We also squarely focused on having an enterprise class solution. 2008 was a critical time for us. Working with VMware’s partner base, in order to deliver the right class of service, we had to focus on finding the best technologies we could and integrating them into a platform.”
The result, Orsini said, was a very strong all-API driven Infrastructure-as-a-Service [IaaS] offering which now includes Veeam for backup, Zerto for disaster recovery, Trend Micro Deep Focus for security, and Tenable Nessus for vulnerability management, on top of Cisco UPS for Compute and HPE Nimble and Apollo for storage.
“We are also the longest standing member of VMware’s cloud advisory board,” Orsini said.
iland has a stronger and more consistent channel component than many of the companies in their space.
“The majority of our services were direct originally, but I’ve been here for ten years, and we had a channel program then,” Orsini said. “It was driven by the telecom Go-to-Market and the Master Agent model, and we continue to focus on that. Under this model, we service and bill the customer and provide monthly reoccurring commission back to the partner.”
In more recent years, they have added two other partner types.
“Our big pivot was five years ago,” Orsini said. “While we still have a strong agent base, we developed a program to provide value to solution providers. Under this tier, the partner puts our proposal on their paper and handles billing while we handle the service. It drives top line revenue, which aligns better for the field compensation of these partners.”
The third tier of partners is MSPs, who effectively white label the services.
“They deliver our services under their own brand, with their own help desk,” Orsini said. “We work with them like a customer, but its more strategic. They buy wholesale and they control pricing.”
“We partner with both resellers and Master Agents who get this space,” said Koorosh Khashayar, vice president of iland global channels. “We work with three Master Agents who have about 4000 sub-agents, and we have about 650 VAR and MSP partners, although with us the focus has always been on selection and not collection.”
Khashayar has just overseen some enhancements to the channel program, which include a new partner portal, that is more like solution provider portals rather than cloud service provider ones.
“CSP programs don’t have a traditional approach to enablement,” he said. “While we have always had a channel program, we really wanted to enable partners well. This new portal lets them consume content, brand it, and get training and certifications. It’s a more traditional approach for a solution provider partner program.”
The portal also improves the process by which partners register new deals, and provides greater visibility into the new business pipeline.
“We are improving the way we work with partners willing to be dedicated around our offerings,” Khashayar said.
iland has also announcing enhancements to their Catalyst cloud assessment tool.
“We developed a free cloud assessment tool – Catalyst – that partners can install and which models different use cases to determine bandwidth and capacity needs,” Orsini said. Customers can use it, and partners often use it as a pre-sales tool.
“We have been working with this for a couple of years now, and this is the 2.2 version,” he indicated. “We have enhanced some of the reporting capabilities, and if they share the report with us, we can provide focused conversations and qualify and validate what they try to do. We have also added a data centre footprint, as well as some integration into other systems in our back end.”
Last, and not least, is that new data centre in Canada, to expand iland’s sales here.
“We have had a lot of push from customers to move into Canada,” Orsini said. “It’s a very strategic opportunity for us.”
Orsini described iland’s Canadian channel as being in its infancy.
“We have some partners who have customers who don’t have a need for data sovereignty, and we work with big corporate resellers like CDW, SHI and Softchoice who have a presence in both the US and Canada,” he stated. “But we expect that this will expand our footprint significantly. Being partner-led is critical for us.”
The Canadian data centre, like the others iland runs globally, uses other colos’ infrastructure.
“We don’t physically own data centres,” Orsini said. “We build out in other infrastructure.”
The Canadian data centre is expected to be operational by the end of the year.
“We are looking at the Q4 timeframe,” Orsini noted.