VMware Embraces Services in Upcoming Channel Program Update

We spoke to VeloCloud about its channel growth.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

April 2, 2019

5 Min Read

VMware is revamping its channel program to accommodate diverse types of partners.

The update to the program, dubbed Partner Connect, builds on the four Master Services competencies VMware launched last year. The competencies, which measure skills in sales, architecture and deployment, are now the key criteria for where partners land among the program’s three tiers: partner, advanced partner and principal partner. Principal partners will be those that achieved the most competencies and subsequently get the most perks. They’ll be first in line to jointly plan and co-sell with VMware in addition to deployment and consumption incentives.


VMware’s Jenni Flinders

The program will flexibly align with its partners’ business models, “rather than predicating how we want them to engage with us,” vice president and global channel chief Jenni Flinders said. That means rewarding partners for their unique skill sets.

Flinders told Channel Partners that compensating and rewarding services-oriented partners has always been a challenge. The goal is for Partner Connect to work with them without requiring them to sell products that are outside of their wheelhouses. Partners specializing in professional or advisory services won’t have to stress about product transactions.

“If they are just services-oriented, they can engage with us on exactly that level, and we will recognize and reward them for that,” Flinders said.

And VMware will meet other business models with the same flexibility.

“You can be a born-in-the cloud partner. You can be a partner that does a certain amount of reselling. You can be a partner that focuses on services, advisory services or managed services. You can be a partner that works on integrated solutions, distribution or aggregation. Those are, if you look across the industry, kind of where the partners engage. But also … a partner could be more than one of these,” she said.

Here’s our most recent list of important channel-program changes you should know.

VMware has created a fifth master-service competency, VMware Cloud on AWS. The competency certifies partners to offer professional services for VMware Cloud on AWS and makes them more visible to customers seeking the offering.

VMware’s first four competencies were in cloud management and automation, data-center virtualization, network virtualization, and desktop and mobility.


Xtravirt’s Gavin Joliffe

“The Master Services Competencies are the new gold standard,” said Gavin Jolliffe, CEO of Xtravirt, a VMware partner. “They are hard to achieve and even harder to maintain. That’s a good thing for the customer. It means that they’re getting the highest level of assurance that we can work with them to achieve their goals and that they can sleep better at night.”

VMware most certainly is encouraging service-heavy partners, but it’s also creating incentives for partners that embrace and sell new technologies. Partners can sell vSAN hyperconverged infrastructure licenses at a more attractive price for customers, and VMware has upped rewards for partners that acquire the network virtualization competency and deploy the company’s NSX platform for SDN and security.

The Partner Connect program will launch in early 2020. VMware made the announcement at its Partner Leadership Summit Tuesday.

VeloCloud Update

VMware-owned VeloCloud has begun work with AT&T to make the telco’s SD-WAN platform compatible with 5G. We spoke with Sasha Emmerling, senior director of marketing for the VeloCloud business unit, who said the company is doing much more to build a 5G vision.

Emmerling said “compute at the edge” has become a crucial …

… area for businesses as the traditional branch office transforms.


VMware VeloCloud’s Sasha Emmerling

“It’s no longer your typical branch with four walls and a door,” she said. “The branch is becoming mobile. The branch is extending to include IoT and different applications that are very agile running at the edge.”

VeloCloud’s vision is to create an SD-WAN technology ecosystem with end-to-end management, complete visibility and improved performance. The company formed several new partnerships to achieve those goals. VeloCloud partnered with SevOne and Plixer on the analytics side, ADVA Optical Networking and Telco Systems in systems integration, and RingCentral for unified communications.


Courtesy of Gartner

Emmerling said channel integration between VMware and VeloCloud is going well, as SD-WAN technology grows in demand. VeloCloud’s reseller channel has grown 230 percent since the 2017 acquisition, followed by telcos (46 percent), MSPs (40 percent) and global distributors (100 percent). She said the platform is sticky for partners that are well-trained in it and can help them cement a managed-services practice.

She and Ravi Sharma, VeloCloud’s director of marketing, described SD-WAN’s emergence as the biggest shake-up since the breakup of AT&T. Sharma pointed to how Gartner’s WAN Edge Infrastructure quadrant (in which VMware is a leader) is packed with 20 vendors.

“It just shows how this has exploded,” Sharma said. “It’s something certainly unlike anything we’ve seen in the networking space in the last 15-20 years.”

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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