Avnet, Amazon Web Services Partner on Cloud Services
Avnet Technology Solutions (NYSE: AVT) and Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) have inked a cloud computing partnership to empower VARs, MSPs, ISVs and other channel partners, Talkin’ Cloud has learned. The cloud relationship will initially involve Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) database services and Riverbed Technology (NASDAQ: RVBD) Whitewater cloud storage gateway solutions. But take a closer look and it’s clear Avnet and Amazon intend to explore of additional cloud solution bundles for Avnet’s channel partners.
The Avnet Cloud Solutions initiative (unveiled in May 2012) seems to be gaining momentum with industry heavyweights. Instead of simply reselling SaaS offerings to channel partners, Avnet has been creating custom bundles (backed by a cloud support team) for its partner ecosystem.
Avnet Cloud Solutions, led by VP Tim FitzGerald (pictured, right), intends to assist partners in seven cloud services areas:
- productivity and collaboration;
- backup and disaster recovery;
- test and development;
- application hosting and management;
- remote management and monitoring; and
- data center as a service.
An educated guess: Watch for the Avnet-Amazon to potentially address all seven of those areas over time. Already, Avnet Cloud Services has strategic relationships with Savvis and SherWeb, a major provider of hosted collaboration services such as Exchange and SharePoint.
The Avnet-Amazon relationship didn’t happen overnight. “It’s been a couple of years worth of discussions,” confirmed Terry Wise, director of business development, global alliances, ecosystem and channel for Amazon Web Services. “Avnet has a pretty interesting vision about where they see the end-user market going, and how channel partners will participate in that transformation.”
Indeed, Avnet channel partners will gain access to cloud-based services that are being developed, packaged and offered by Avnet and Amazon in tandem. For instance, the Riverbed Whitewater cloud storage gateway, integrated with Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), will allow Avnet partners to rapidly move customers to cloud storage “with the speed and power of a subscription model,” said Wise.
Wise is no stranger to the IT channel. He oversees the cloud giant’s global partner ecosystem — including ISVs, large integrators and smaller channel partners. The channel has been partner of the Amazon Web Services strategy since the day Amazon wrote its cloud computing business plan. “From day zero, we knew we’d need partners if we were going to offer IaaS. It’s not an interesting market without packaged or customer-built applications. It’s not in our business model to be in the professional services space. We’re a high-volume, low-margin business. We value partners.”
Avnet, meanwhile, is striving to be the “premier provider of off-premise cloud solutions,” said FitzGerald. He sees four areas where Avnet will stand apart from the distribution crowd. He says Avnet:
- Has built a dedicated, off-premise cloud solutions team that focuses on the annuity business model, and the solutions customers want to consume from partners.
- Is developing and integrating packaged cloud offerings, rather than merely reselling third-party SaaS, IaaS and PaaS services.
- Is representing, “in a privileged way”, best-in-class cloud providers that value and protect VAR and MSP relationships with end-customers.
- Applying the Avnet solution distribution value proposition to the cloud, to help partners become more valuable to customers.
So how could the Avnet-Amazon relationship evolve? Consider this: Avnet’s goal is to make sure all the major ISVs running on Linux and Windows run well on AWS. Avnet, meanwhile, has deep relationships with a lengthy list of ISVs and hardware providers. One could imagine, over time, on-premises Oracle partners linking the Oracle Database Appliance to Amazon Web Services, for instance.
FitzGerald avoided the temptation to pre-announce longer-term ISV moves. But he hammered home the fact that Avnet is pushing far beyond “individual building blocks” (such as a specific database) and instead focusing on integrated and packaged cloud solutions for VARs and MSPs.
The AvnetCloudReady.com website explains that strategy more fully.
Distributors in the Cloud
No doubt, all of the major distributors are making cloud-related moves. Ingram Micro Cloud is striving to be the defacto cloud aggregator platform for channel partners, and Ingram does have a relationship with Amazon in the cloud. Synnex CloudSolv will likely share some news updates during a major Synnex conference next week. And Tech Data TDCloud recently offered some updates during a partner gathering last week in Orlando, Fla.