VMware is ramping up its partner preparation ahead of the much-vaunted vCloud Air launch later this year.
The company has launched a range new programs for 2015 and is in the process of training partners ahead of the launch of its Australian vCloud Air datacentre - its twelfth globally.
ARN sat down with VMware director, Cloud and services provider sales, A/NZ, Dan McLean, to discuss how partners can benefit from the new programs, as the company seeks to convert its dominance in virtualisation to the Cloud arena.
The new programs for MSPs and resellers accompany the launch of vSphere 6, Virtual San 6, One Cloud and, of course, its deal with Google to offer the search giant's Cloud services, such as cloud storage and BigQuery, as part of it vCloud Air platform.
McLean said the company had set the trajectory for partners over the last few months in terms of enabling new business and new routes to market.
"Its really that area of the datacentre which has been governed by the incredible capital investment into the assets, with a lot of inflexibility into how those networks are configured and controlled and it tends to be the limiting factor between deployment of apps and services," he said.
"In the Cloud space, a limiting factor in terms of connectivity from on premise to off premise.
"Bringing that to a software defined nature and being able to drive that programatically is something that organisations seem to be benefiting from.
He said the company had announced a new initiative called subscription purchase programming for resellers.
"So this is kind of like a gift card for Cloud services. The VMware channel can sell these SPP credits to customers and customers are able to redeem them," he said.
"The reason we are doing it is just to simplify the on-demand nature of the Cloud, which can make it very complicated from a billing perspective through the channel. This enables a much simpler approach. That will launch in Q2 to the channel."
The second big change is around the service provider space, with the launch of its Managed Service Provider (MSP) Program.
McLean said this was about allowing service providers to leverage VCloud Air as their core infrastructure and to acquire that in the same subscription rental model that they would for the company's software now.
"The service providers have always had access to our software from a rental perspective, and this gives them a very capital light approach to be able to go and build up their own Clouds," he said.
"We are now extending that and taking it to VCloud Air. This has made it an industry leading software model for service providers to build their Cloud services.
"We are taking that same intelligence and applying to the whole Cloud service. They can get access to core infrastructure capacity and then differentiate with their own managed service on top of that."
He said taking a capital light approach to the whole service, rather then having to invest in datacentres and infrastructure and operations would leverage the technology, while putting their own brand on the front.
"It's really exciting. When we announced VCloud Air at VForum we had a number of service providers at that launch with us who were going to leverage model, and we are seeing great synergies with them really focusing on the value add and the higher return for their business around the managed services.
"We will expand that, we will go live as a program about the same time as we will go live with the platform out here.
"It will really complement what the service providers are doing today and that will become a standard offer through our service provider programs."
The company has also introduced revised solution competencies for its partner network, which includes Mobility Management Solution Competency and Software-Defined Datacentre Competency (available in Q2).
McLean said this enabled partners to go and get trained and certified on particular solutions areas.
"This is the expansion to include Airwatch technologies and assets... really starting to bring the core VMware channel into selling that mobility solutions."
He said channel program would have access to to subscription services.
They will be able to sell the dedicated cloud, the virtual private Cloud and disaster recovery services.
"They can sell that through the reseller distribution model at the time we launch," he said.
"A number of partners are going through their competency training on that, competency certification for vCloud Air and we will be ready at launch to go an transact that in the market place with it.
He said there had been an incredible uptake among the partner community.
"We are adding to that with the service provider program, which is another route for for selling the credits to consume against the on-demand platform and again just to help the channel really deliver a broad range of services to clients."
A number of service providers have already been briefed on the MSP, which VMware will now extend as it prepares to go live with vCloud Air.
"We have a launch date although we are not communicating it yet," he said.
"We're still going to be launching it in the first half of the year.
"Everything is tracking very well on that front, we have got no delays in terms of the original schedule - we're hitting all our key milestones.
This is datacentre number 12 (globally) coming online, so the global operations team responsible for bringing it to market are old hats at this now.
He said the interest from customers was very high.
"What we are hearing is our customers that have got strong deployments in VMware are really seeing this as the natural way to go an adopt Cloud services in way that's really not going to disrupt the way they deliver services in their business," he said.
"A number of key and excited customers who are working with us on how they use it with burst type workloads, and how they can add this in as part of their overall software defined datacentre strategy, based on compatibility and hybridity between on-premise and off-premise."
vShere 6 will roll into the core vCloud Air platform over the next six months.
It is now in the integration stage, with NSW being brought into the core of vCloud Air.
McLean said customers already had most of the assets they needed to get on to vCloud Air.
"We have got broad list of compatibility, so we're not needing customers to go and upgrade in order to be able to connect and grab that hybrid Cloud.
He said the recent Google partnership gave VMware customers access to some advanced tech and that they were focused on solving customer problems.
"It's really quite space-age in terms of Google's capabilities and breadth and depth across the globe, and therefore a partnership makes a lot of sense," he said.
"The service, the offer, the SLAs will all be from VMware and we take care of the integration of those products on the back-end and management.
"It brings a lot of great and varied services particularly around the big data analytics."
Despite providing a similar offering to Azure and Amazon Web Services, VMware will not be competing on price.
"We will be competitive in the market place, but we are not setting out to have a price war.
"We believe we play in a very different space. Customers have built up a lot of trust in our platform.
"So the inherent availability, the granular resource performance control, customers rely on those things, in terms of delivering their applications.
"They want to take that same level of control and trust into the Cloud service as well and that compatibility for seamless movement bi-directionally is something no other Cloud service can offer."
Over the next two weeks VMware will be ramping up its communications with partners to have the channel "prepped" for launch locally.
"There's a great opportunity for all aspect of the channel, be it solution providers, be it service providers, distributors, aggregators," McLean said.
"We are crafting great ways for the channel to participate in the Cloud world and we think they are very important in delivering and solving customers challenges."