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iland Lures Agents With Cloud Services

March 1, 2009

3 Min Read
iland Lures Agents With Cloud Services

By Khali Henderson

iland Internet Solutions Corp. is rolling out a new channel program; its lure is the promise of virtualization.

Virtualization lets you run multiple virtual machines on a single physical machine, sharing the resources of that single computer across multiple environments. Different virtual machines can run different operating systems and multiple applications on the same physical computer. Among the advantages are lower cost and greater redundancy.

Recognizing this fundamental shift in the way people compute, Houston-based iland is rolling out a new solution set, iland Cloud Services (iCS), based on the platform by VMware Inc..

To help evangelize the virtues of virtualization, iland is making its first big push to build an indirect sales channel. Previously, the company had an ad hoc program with less than 20 agents selling its colocation and servers; high-speed IP connectivity; and managed network, security and storage services.

To champion its new program, which covers its legacy and new product set, the company brought in Dante Orsini as channel sales director in October. Orsini has more than 10 years’ experience in direct and indirect channel sales. Most recently he was vice president of corporate development for CorePlus Inc., a startup grid computing company, where he developed direct and indirect channel strategies.

Orsini has support from a global accounts manager and a sales engineer, but those resources are shared with the direct sales team while the program ramps up.

While the obvious target for selling cloud computing services are systems integrators and data VARs, Orsini said there is opportunity for telephony agents as well. In fact, iland has set up the program to include different levels of participation based on the channel partners’ skill sets.

The most hands-off option is a referral program, which offers a one-time bounty equal to the percentage of the monthly recurring charge for a converted lead. But there also is an agent program, which pays a commission equal to a percentage of the contract value paid after the third month of the contract. iland bills the customer and handles all the after-sale support. Finally, for the tech-savvy, the reseller program offers wholesale discounts to partners that want to handle their own billing and customer support.

iland’s existing agents are moving into the new agent program, which also has added new volume tiers – bronze, silver and gold – with graduated commission percentages. Iland declined to reveal the rates. Orsini said iland hopes to have 100 agents selling its services by midyear.

Since virtualization is a relatively new and misunderstood solution, training is offered on both the technology basics and selling strategies via Web presentations and live meetings.

Orsini said agents’ serving multilocation accounts with MPLS networks, for example, already are working with hot prospects for iland’s portfolio of services, including virtualization.

“Depending on their focus, they are constantly running into colocation type opportunities and they really don’t have a place to turn those opportunities over,” he said. “With colocation comes virtualization and virtualization aiding the disaster recovery process.”

With iland, agents also can offer a hybrid solution with colo and virtualization, said Vanessa Eixman, iland’s vice president of business development. “If they have gear or applications they don’t want to virtualize, we can combine the two,” she said.

Orsini said virtualization consolidates servers at a ratio of 20 to 1 over the traditional approach. (A cost example provided by iland showed virtualization at one-fifth the cost of a traditional deployment.)

However, he said disaster recovery is going to be its key play. Rather than add a second redundant colo site, iland can connect the original colo site via VPN to iland’s facility where it has set up a virtual machine in an isolated environment where it can replicate the data. Or, if a client is entirely virtual with iland, they can replicate the data at another iland site.

“We can really tailor it to what the client needs based on their tolerance for downtime,” Eixman said.

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