Google Cloud's Expanded MSP Program 'Good News' for the Channel

Public cloud providers are still in the nascent stages of building robust channel programs, but their efforts are maturing quickly.

Kris Blackmon, Head of Channel Communities

December 12, 2017

3 Min Read
Cloud Growth

There’s a sweet spot between end users and cloud service providers in which channel partners can thrive. As the race for public cloud dominance heats up, many big public cloud services are using MSPs, SaaS providers, and solution providers to supplement their services gaps. They’ll take care of the data center and leave security, monitoring and management, remote updates and the like to your friendly neighborhood MSP.

This week, Zoltan Szabadi, Head of MSP Partners for Google Cloud gave a big nod to the necessity of partnering with the channel by announcing the expansion of its Google Cloud Platform MSP partners. Rackspace, GCP’s first MSP partner announced earlier this year, is joined by 11 other big channel players, including Accenture, CloudReach, and RightScale.

Szabadi says that GCP’s partner MSPs are required to offer a bare minimum of services, including consulting, assessment, implementation, monitoring, and optimization. The partners must provide L1, L2, and L3 tiered support models, 24x7x365 support with enterprise-grade SLAs, and Google-certified support engineers.

Genesys is a global provider of cloud customer support solutions that has had a longtime formal program in place to use partners to help clients with onboarding, professional services, and ongoing support for several years, says SVP Brian Bischoff.

“[The Google Cloud announcement is] evidence that clients are moving applications to the cloud and IaaS leaders are looking for the best partners to help. Our view is that Google is formalizing a practice we have already had in place for several years.”

Bischoff says it’s a positive step forward for the industry, and he isn’t alone. On its surface, this announcement may just seem like one among many cloud-related news items that pass through the channel. But it signals a big shift in the way we think about the cloud, and how cloud providers and channel partners alike monetize, package, implement, and support cloud-based IT services.

“I would say that their focus on partners is a sign that the major cloud platforms are trusting of the channel and the skillset of VARs/MSPs/SIs to properly integrate customers applications to their platform,” says Jeff Newton, VP of enterprise sales & engineering at TBI, which provides services like UCaaS and DRaaS. “This news coupled with other platforms increasing their investment in the channel is great news for all of us involved.”  

Cloud provider partner programs aren’t exactly new, but they’re definitely still prepubescent. We’re beginning a new era of opportunity for traditional channel partners, which have been watching the shrinking margins surrounding legacy hardware and software sales and services in recent years with dismay. The emergence of a truly cloud-based channel should be a welcome relief for partners, and the channel should expect its maturation to happen at lightning speeds compared with the channel ecosystem of old.

The burgeoning MSP partner programs from Google Cloud, AWS, Azure and others will prompt a fast evolution in the quality levels of cloud-based solutions and services, says Newton.

“[Google Cloud’s] presence will force everyone to step up their game across the board for public cloud providers.”

The full list of Google Cloud MSPs is as follows:

  • Accenture

  • Cascadeo

  • Claranet

  • Cloudreach

  • DoiT International

  • Go Reply

  • Pythian

  • Rackspace

  • RightScale

  • SADA Systems

  • Sutherland

  • Taos

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About the Author(s)

Kris Blackmon

Head of Channel Communities, Zift Solutions

Kris Blackmon is head of channel communities at Zift Solutions. She previously worked as chief channel officer at JS Group, and as senior content director at Informa Tech and project director of the MSP 501er Community. Blackmon is chair of CompTIA's Channel Development Advisory Council and operates KB Consulting. You may follow her on LinkedIn and @zift on X.

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