Cloud-based Tech Demos See Growth, Channel Ties
Cloud automation providers are expanding their offerings, attracting investors and garnering attention from channel partners. Consider the latest moves involving such companies has Hatsize and Skytap.
Hatsize this week launched the latest version of its cloud automation software, which is geared toward product demonstration and training. The company’s hosted cloud service affords “hands-on access and control of complex technology products,” according to the company. In November 2010, Hatsize, based in Calgary, Alberta, obtained $5 million in Series A funding from Golden Seeds and the Business Development Bank of Canada.
Earlier this month, Skytap, also in the cloud automation space, raised $10 million in Series C funding. Skytap points to development and test, sales demos, and virtual training as among its solution sets.
Sue Miller, chief executive officer at Hatsize, said her company’s customers include IBM, Juniper Networks, and Symantec. Customers may deploy training and demos in the cloud for both internal personnel and channel partners. Miller has previous channel experience; she was president of Merisel Europe and Merisel Canada.
Miller described complex configurations as Hatsize’s sweet spot. The company’s technology supports physical machines including switches and storage devices. As a consequence, product vendors can boost channel partner access to more complex devices, Miller noted. That approach aims to get resellers quickly up to speed on existing products and jumpstart new ones.
“Manufacturers and ISVs… are starting to make available to the channel pre- production units,” Miller said. “So when they launch, everyone in the channel knows about them and represents them.”
The company’s latest iteration, Hatsize 3.8, provides features such as distributed SaaS, which lets customers provision and control complex hardware and software products housed in multiple data centers. The company also cited a session startup time reduction of up to 65 percent and presence detector e-mail alerts. The latter feature provides a mechanism for following up with sales prospects who go through a demo.
Skytap, meanwhile, can also point to channel influences and involvement. OpenView Venture Partners, one of Skytap’s recent investors, has experience in channel-oriented cloud companies. Skytap’s customer list includes Savvis and Slalom Consulting. CSC’s cloud-based development and test service, launched last year, uses Skytap’s technology.
The channel seems a good fit for cloud-based demo and training ventures. Channel players look at a lot of products and anything that makes that process faster, easier and earlier has got to be a bonus.