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January 31, 2011
Ingram Micro Cloud, a portal for channel partners that launched in November 2010, seems to be catching on with VARs, MSPs and cloud integrators. Moreover, Ingram will soon expand the cloud site to support several new geographies, according to Rene Bergeron, VP of managed services and cloud computing at Ingram Micro. Still, the role of Ingram Micro and rival distributors in cloud computing remains a work in progress.
More than 1,500 resellers have registered to use the Ingram Micro Cloud portal. The portal contains about 450 unique documents, which have been downloaded more than 7,000 times. Plus, the site has roughly 20 vendor sponsors and 30 service offerings, according to Bergeron. She provided the updates during a January 28 phone briefing, and offered a higher-level Ingram Micro Cloud overview in November 2010 (see FastChat Video, left).
Bergeron concedes that some of the site traffic involves Ingram Micro’s own sales staff, since using the site is mandatory for Ingram employees who are getting up to speed on the cloud. “But there’s still a huge number of resellers on the site,” said Bergeron.
Near term, Ingram will expand the Ingram Micro Cloud site to better serve resellers in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and Asia. A Latin America push also is on the drawing board, Bergeron said.
Looking ahead, Ingram Micro may promote additional technology vendors and service providers on the site. In particular, watch for unified communications and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions to eventually surface on the site, Bergerson said. “We want to have vetted partners,” said Bergeron. “It’s not only about checking a company’s financial standing. We also have to look at the architecture behind the solution to make sure they scale for years to come.”
So far, the Ingram Micro Cloud portal highlights such cloud offerings as Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite, GoGrid, Intermedia, LeadMaster CRM, LotusLive and NetEnrich — just to name a few.
Still, the role of distribution in cloud computing remains a work in progress. Some critics doubt Ingram Micro and other distributors can make a decent margin promoting third-party cloud services — especially highly price-sensitive solutions from Amazon Web Services.
Generally speaking, Ingram Micro has a head start on some distributors in the cloud market. Specifically, the Ingram Micro Seismic business has offered SaaS and cloud solutions for several years, attracting more than 1,000 VARs and MSPs to the Seismic service. Rivals are making moves, however. In particular keep an eye on Synnex, which has been preparing a major managed services and cloud push with its channel partners.
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