Distribution Central is attempting to put the power back into the hands of resellers with a new open standards-based Cloud Services platform.
DC CloudSelect marketplace is designed specifically for resellers, managed service providers, cloud service providers and partners born in the Cloud.
It will provide a single platform for the procurement, provisioning, integration, orchestration, and management of Cloud solutions, services and aggregated billing.
The marketplace is being launched with more than 200 products and services, which will continue to increase over time.
Key Cloud providers include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Softlayer (an IBM company).
The products and services catalogue also includes solutions from DC’s existing vendor partnerships such as Blue Coat, CommVault, Equinix, F5 Networks, NetApp, Palo Alto Networks, Riverbed, Seagate, SimpliVity and Sophos.
Distribution Central managing director, Nick Verykios, told ARN he was expecting an "avalanche" of enquiries, on May 11, when the marketplace will be switched on.
"Our beta testers have been looking at a lot of platforms around the the world and this is actually the best in the world right now," he said.
"The irony is we could have kept on developing, but we had to put a stake in the ground, and we are going out now and giving our customers exactly what they have been asking for.
The development of the marketplace has taken about eight months.
He said the difference in what the company was trying to achieve was "bringing the resellers back into the conversation".
"There's so much being said about what vendors are doing and some silly statements about the loss of the role of the distributor," he said.
"A distributor is always going to aggregate technology solutions. For me it's been quite a nonsense, and its distracted the conversation away from where it should be. We are putting all of this back into the hands of the reseller."
Verykios said the objective of the marketplace was to remove the complexity associated with the challenges of Cloud and to ensure partners had a profitable pathway as they transitioned their business.
“DC CloudSelect is unique amongst other distributor solutions because of the extent to which it enables partners. It offers a large products and services catalogue and the ability to aggregate, orchestrate and manage end-user cloud environments," he said.
"Partners get a single bill from DC and can present and manage multiple solutions to their customers, whilst having complete control over their customers’ cloud environments.”
Resellers also need to consider, not just the infrastructure required to deliver a Cloud service, but how they will optimise performance and secure the Cloud environment, according to Verykios.
"For this reason the DC CloudSelect Marketplace catalogue offers Cloud-based solutions that address these business problems and challenges.”
The company has also worked closely with vendor partners and integrated APIs across solutions to deliver a seamless experience for our partners and their customers.
Distribution Central chief technology officer, Michael Carlile, said the company would continue to add new vendor partners from the orchestration perspective.
"We will continue to expand this out, but there are tens of thousands of things we could orchestrate if we want to," he said.
"The point is where is the value in it? If I need to manage multiple clients as a channel partner, I need one place to do it and - really - if that's the only thing we achieve here, then we have achieved something of value for the channel.
"As a value-added distributor it's important to add value and really to be able to go and deploy services to manage the customer properly.
"To get one single bill presented to me at the end of each month, paid for by account direct debit or a credit card is the biggest value."
In 2013 Distribution Central launched its DC CloudSelect service with an online configurator, billing engine and cloud-enabled solutions – CloudPODs – to enable partners to deliver cloud solutions to their customers.
The DC CloudSelect Marketplace overhauls this service by delivering a fully customised portal that acts as a single interface for resellers to consume and manage Cloud services.
Verykos said the company was going into the market as a Cloud aggregator.
"So it needs to do everything and do everything from the first transaction right down to the constant renewable transaction," he said.
"The resellers need to have their hands on our platform to actually manage their customers.
"What's vitally important is we are walking away from that whole notion of white-boxing.
"What we are talking about here is resellers having the ability to OEM this platform.
"They surely put their brand on to it, but they can start to take deeper control of what they are doing with their Cloud deployments.
"They will be able to manage the platform. It's all on their paper, it's all on their website. They are 'OEMing' the platform rather than just relying on someone to give them Cloud services that they can sell."
From a vendor perspective, it gives the distributor an opportunity for it to get into the markets that it otherwise would not have been in.
"We were never huge in basic networking, because it's commoditised, but now we have got a way of getting into that market," Verykios said.
"The other thing the vendors have been saying is we have got to move from brochure-ware to reality now, because you have actually given us a platform."
"What they are really talking about there is the e-commerce side of it. The way they reconstruct their pricing models to sell the technology."
Verykios said resellers had responded positively following beta testing.
"The big response has been it puts me in that [Cloud] market," he said.
"I'm not going to use these Cloud-based solutions for every problem - this is not a be-all and end-all, this is an alternative solution for a reseller to solve a problem which otherwise, on their own, they would not have been able to."