Upstart ZeroStack Takes on VMware

The small cloud services provider is talking a big game.

Kris Blackmon, Head of Channel Communities

October 4, 2018

3 Min Read
Boxing Gloves

Self-driving cloud provider startup ZeroStack, whose Cloud Innovation Partner Program is less than a year old, is taking on VMware with an ambitious promotional campaign touting its cloud service engine. The company says its solution is significantly less expensive than VMware products, and provides a quicker time-to-profit for managed service providers (MSPs).

ZeroStack says the update to its fledgling program is designed to reduce the amount of resources required to spin up high-demand services through service templates available in its AppStore. Using the templates, MSPs can more quickly and efficiently roll out solutions that are alternatives to vCloud and vRealize in less than 30 minutes and without in-house cloud operational expertise.

The company is all in on its partner program and says after working with several partners during the initial phase, it realized what MSPs wanted were prepackaged cloud services that can open the door for new clients.

Steve Garrison, vice president of marketing and business development, says that one of the biggest challenges regional MSPs have is not coming up with the ideas, but executing on them. These small and midsize service providers don’t have the internal resources to build concept solutions or use cases. Garrison says they need quick, proven solutions.


Steve Garrison

Steve Garrison

“They don’t have the deep wallets to build and hope people come like AWS has shown,” says Garrison. “ZeroStack provides the AWS-like technology that they can leverage as the first part of the puzzle. The second piece is canned turnkey services. In short, we accelerate their ability to see high-margin cloud services revenue.”

It’s commoditized cloud services, and ZeroStack says its program includes enterprise sales-assist and an interactive (xls) model to help model cash flow so expectations are in line with the business reality of how fast MSPs can invest and how soon they’ll see revenue. The templates are specific, automated and repeatable, giving partners looking to expand their capabilities or market share more resources to devote to growth efforts.

ZeroStack is starting off the new initiative with four service templates:

  • GPU as a service: Lets MSPs automatically detect GPUs and make them available in the ZeroStack environment and allows cloud admins to configure, scale, and allow fine-grained access control of GPU resources to end users. 

  • AI as a service: Automates access to applications such as batch processing, distributed analytics, multiplayer gaming, video encoding, IoT development, edge computing, and blockchain development on an open cloud platform that is independent of underlying hardware.

  • Big data as a service: Allows MSPs to automate a variety of big data tools such as Cloudera and gives data scientists and developers self-serve options.

  • DevOps as a service: Lets DevOps organizations provide and manage customized, self-service workspaces for individual developers and gives access to favorite tools in an easy-to-use environment such as OpenShift and Jenkins.

Garrison says the managed-services market is demanding open, integrated solutions, and that ZeroStack has incorporated several aspects of an open platform to help ease the pain of MSPs trying to juggle multiple vendors to create one cloud-services solution. Its solution is open to any modern server and any third-party storage device that uses OpenStack APIs.

“We are open to APIs to drive and manage our cloud platform; this helps MSPs do customer integration as well as build scripts to further streamline workflows, removing more manual tasks and increasing their service delivery,” says Garrison.

ZeroStack cloud is also open as an application platform and can extend its integrated AppStore to new or bespoke applications using AWS’ open-source scripting language, Heat.

The company is not yet well-known in the space and hopes its message will resonate with MSPs that are tired of the long, expensive integrations, deployments and management process associated with VMware.

“ZeroStack is not well branded yet, and by the time MSPs find us, a recurring theme is, ‘We are frustrated by our cloud choices!’”

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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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