Rackspace Partner Leadership Summit: Top 7 Day 1 Highlights
The VAR Guy stumbled onto plenty of news and chatter at the Rackspace Partner Leadership Summit, which kicked off today in San Antonio, Texas. The chatter involves some imminent OpenStack news, an expanded Rackspace channel team, and growing cloud relationships with such firms as Ingram Micro and Dell. Here’s the scoop… including the top seven highlights from Rackspace Partner Leadership Summit 2010, Day 1.
7. Expanded Channel Team: Avaya Inc. veteran Sean McCaffery joined Rackspace about a month ago as director of cloud channel sales and worldwide operations. Assuming McCaffery lives up to his bio, it’s a heck of a hire. McCaffery previously led channel sales for Avaya in Western Europe, lifting partner sales an average of 15 percent per year. At Rackspace, he’s responsible for enabling all Rackspace channel partners to offer cloud services.
McCaffery joins a seasoned channel team at Rackspace. VP of Worldwide Channel Sales Robert Fuller previously worked at AMD developing the company’s consumer, commercial and whitebox channel programs. And Christopher Rajiah, director of North American channels, previously ran Extreme Networks’ North American channel business and its worldwide strategic alliances.
6. What’s In A Name?: Here’s a cool job title — Chief Stacker. And it has nothing to do with preparing Big Macs or putting away toy blocks.
The title belongs to Jim Curry, GM and chief stacker for OpenStack, the open source cloud platform that Rackspace is promoting. Within the company, OpenStack-focused employees are known as Stackers, and Rackspace-centric employees are called Rackers. (And somewhere between a Racker and a Stacker their sits The VAR Guy: The ultimate Slacker.)
During the conference, Curry will provide some key updates on OpenStack (more on that in a moment).
5. Double Dipping: After attending the Ingram Micro VTN conference in San Francisco, at least two key Ingram executives made the trip to the Rackspace conference; they are Ingram Micro Director of Services Jason Beal, and Ingram Micro VP of Managed Services and Cloud Computing Renee Bergeron.
You’ll recall that Rackspace and Ingram Micro inked a cloud partnership during the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit in June 2010. Fast forward to the present, and it sounds like the Ingram Micro Seismic team is looking to build closer synergies with Rackspace’s managed services channel practices. Moreover, Ingram is taking a close look at OpenStack (more on that in a moment… starting to see a trend here?).
4. Dell’s Deal: Dell Cloud Evangelist Barton George is in the house, demonstrating a new PowerEdge C6105 server, which is designed for hosting, cloud builders and high-performance computing. And tomorrow (Oct. 6), George is expected to tell attendees (and The VAR Guy) how Dell’s OpenStack strategy is progressing (more on that in a moment … no joke. Haven’t you jumped right to item 2 yet?).
Interesting side note: George and Tiffani Bova, a channel guru and research VP at Gartner, allegedly grew up together in Hawaii. Bova is set to keynote the conference on Oct. 6.
3. Finding the Right SaaS App: As expected, Rackspace is starting to talk up the new AppMatcher site, which allows channel partners and customers to track down SaaS applications that are most appropriate for specific needs. The VAR Guy expects a formal AppMatcher announcement at some point here at the conference.
2. OpenStack Milestone on October 21?: As you’ll recall, OpenStack is an open source cloud platform that Rackspace is promoting to multiple technology partners and peer service providers. In theory, OpenStack will allow businesses to stand up a private cloud using the same standards leveraged by Rackspace and NASA. Moreover, it could potentially mitigate customer fears about cloud vendor lock-in.
But will OpenStack work as advertised? And how will channel partners benefit? One part of the project — called OpenStack Object Storage — is already available. The other portion of the project — called OpenStack Compute — is scheduled for “Fall 2010” availability. Openstack Chief Stacker Jim Curry has previously indicated that a key OpenStack Compute release should debut on October 21. The VAR Guy will be asking Curry for an update on Oct. 6.
1. Cloud Channel Is Growing: Take a look at each of the bullet points above. Rackspace has hired a seasoned channel team. Established channel giants like Ingram Micro are at the Rackspace Partner Leadership Summit in full force. Rackspace credited and thanked the channel during its most recent earnings call with Wall Street. Dozens of VARs are hear to learn more about OpenStack and recurring revenue opportunities with Rackspace.
Rewind a few months. In April 2010, NetSuite proclaimed that 2010 was the “year of the channel in the cloud.” By July 2010, the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) focused entirely on an “All In” cloud strategy for channel partners. And this week, scores of VARs are attending the Rackspace Partner Leadership Summit to grab their piece of the cloud.
Sure, the cloud is receiving plenty of hype. But the cloud is real. Rackspace’s partner program and growing revenues prove it.