Cloud Reality Check: Tech Data vs. Ingram Micro

When Tech Data announced the StreamOne Solutions Store this week, the strategy sounded somewhat like the Ingram Micro Cloud initiative to me. Both Ingram Micro and Tech Data are attempting to build cloud app stores. In theory, the stores will allow channel partners to source and provision cloud applications. But what are the differences between Tech Data StreamOne Solutions and Ingram Micro Cloud strategies? I dug up some answers during Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 (WPC11) earlier this week in Los Angeles.

How's this for ironic: During WPC11, I bumped into Renee Bergeron, Ingram Micro's VP of managed services and cloud computing, at the JW Marriott -- where Microsoft was holding strategic meetings most of the week. About 10 minutes later, I sat down with Joe Quaglia, senior VP of US marketing at Tech Data, and Stacy Nethercoat, VP of product marketing for Tech Data's software division.

Generally speaking, Bergeron has been the most vocal distribution executive in the cloud market. During Parallels Summit in February 2011, Bergeron declared that Ingram Micro was the distribution industry's leading cloud aggregator. And by June 2011, Ingram was hosting its own cloud summit in Phoenix.

Rival Emerges


Now, Tech Data is finally answering back. "We were one of the last [distributors] to come out and [announce our platform]," concedes Quaglia. "But we were all about studying the market and really coming out with a complete supply chain solution that delivers value to cloud builders, cloud providers and cloud resellers."

The result was (A) the TDCloud strategy and (B) the StreamOne Solutions Store. According to prepared statements from Tech Data:

  • TDCloud is a set of products, services, and tools designed to help VARs deliver solutions in private, public, or hybrid cloud architectures. Plus TDCloud-related events are coming soon, Quaglia said.

  • StreamOne Solutions Store, set to debut in Fall 2011, will enable VARs to search and select software titles and cloud service offerings in a single comprehensive platform while providing an efficient method for the reselling, provisioning, and billing to their end-user customers.


The StreamOne Solutions Store is more than a marketplace, said Quaglia. "We wanted to create a cloud highway for the channel that isn't there yet. I'm not talking about 10 or 20 cloud services providers. We talking about thousands over time. We open for business in the fall [of 2011]. It starts in North America then we'll take it global."

Tech Data will also connect the dots between its TDCloud and TDMobile initiatives, which includes a joint venture with Brightstar called ActivateIT. Think of it this way: TDMobile and ActivateIT give VARs a one-stop shop for mobile rate plans and devices, said Nethercoat. Over time, partners will be able to extend cloud applications from the StreamOne Solutions Store out to all of those mobile devices, she added.

Competition Everywhere


Tech Data's cloud strategy sounds promising. But competition lurks around every corner.

Already, the Ingram Micro Cloud portal includes education and a marketplace, where VARs will be able to source and provision a range of applications by the end of this year. Also watch for continued advancements from:

In the meantime, take a closer look at the Ingram and Tech Data strategies. You'll soon discover that Ingram and Tech Data made different bets on their cloud architectures.

The Ingram Micro Cloud leverages Jamcracker's software to help VARs procure cloud applications. Jamcracker launched more than a decade ago during the ASP (Application Service Provider) boom, which went bust along with dot-comes in 1999 or so. Since that time, Jamcracker has attempted to reinvent itself multiple times. The Ingram-Jamcracker relationship will likely reveal if Jamcracker's platform truly is ready for prime time.

Meanwhile, Tech Data has been using the Parallels software platform to launch selected SaaS services over in Europe. But here in the U.S., Tech Data built the StreamOne Solutions Store on a homegrown platform, said Quaglia. TalkinCloud will be watching to see how the platform performs when the StreamOne Solutions Store debuts this fall.

Final thought: Rumor has it Parallels has scored another cloud relationship with a major distributor here in the U.S. TalkinCloud has yet to confirm the distributor's name.
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