Synnex is hoping 2014 will be the year of the SMB cloud. During its Varnex 2014 Spring conference in Orlando, Fla., this week, much of the focus was on cloud opportunities and the distributor's own cloud automation marketplace, dubbed CloudSolv.
The CloudSolv platform was originally introduced in 2011 in the U.S., but it wasn't until this week that CloudSolv made its debut for Synnex Canada. After several years, Synnex officials believe that cloud in the SMB market is finally reaching critical mass, and the distributor believes it has the best way to aid solution providers in their jump to the cloud.
"We offer resellers preconfigured, preintegrated bundles of cloud services, and we can customize the bundles and give the resellers what they want," said Jon Allen, vice president of cloud at Synnex. "The idea is to build the right cloud ecosystem and to have the profitability optimization plan in place so that the resellers can make money in the cloud."
Currently, Synnex has approximately 50 cloud vendors within its CloudSolv marketplace, including top vendors such as Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec and IBM SoftLayer.
The cloud services cover a variety of solution areas from productivity and security to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and storage. Synnex, however, doesn't have plans to get into the cloud hosting business itself, unlike other distributors. For example, Ingram Micro recently announced it would begin offering cloud hosting services to solution providers from its own data centers.
Allen said Synnex prefers to play a behind-the-scenes role by assisting resellers with finding the right cloud vendor partners and solutions and providing consolidated billing services through the CloudSolv marketplace. "We pride ourselves on having the right model. We're like Oz. We're the guy behind the screen," Allen said.
In an effort to raise cloud awareness among its SMB resellers, Synnex is now tying in its CloudSolv services bundles with other offerings, from Chromebook for the education market to digital-signage solutions. Synnex said resellers will be able to configure those solution bundles right from the CloudSolv marketplace.
While interest in the cloud is extremely high, Allen said, the key now is to create actual cloud adoption within the SMB reseller channel. "We have traditional legacy VARs and we have born-in-the-cloud guys, and they are two different enablement models," he said.
Allen said that most CloudSolv customers are born-in-the-cloud guys, while many of the traditional resellers -- which make up the vast majority of Synnex's customer base -- have yet to make the leap into cloud. "They're kind of stuck, and they aren't sure where to go," he said. "We want to provide some direction [through CloudSolv]."
Varnex member Salvant Technologies of Cooper City, Fla., has already made the leap to the cloud. The company first began offering cloud solutions in 2011 before CloudSolv was first introduced. But Salvant CEO Carl-Henry Salvant said the platform is still a valuable service for his company.
"Even though we were working in the cloud before CloudSolv, it's been good for us because it reinforces what we're doing," Salvant said. "So even for the cloud services that we get direct from the vendor, [CloudSolv] shows us where the market is going, and which vendor services and solutions are in demand."
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