WekaIO Launches Channel Program, Enlists Partners For Expansion Into AI/ML
With the new Weka X Partner Program, WekaIO is offering deal registration, training, certification and other resources and benefits to VARs, systems integrators and MSPs who can build AI, machine learning and other high-performance solutions and services around the Weka Data Platform.
WekaIO launched a new partner program today as the data platform developer looks to expand its channel reach beyond its core data center and cloud platform allies to include a broader range of resellers, systems integrators and MSPs.
The new Weka X program offers partners a raft of new training and enablement resources and certifications, deal registration and financial incentives, flexible procurement options, and other benefits specifically for top-tier partners.
The program launch comes as WekaIO, a Campbell, Calif.-based provider of distributed file system and object storage software, has leveraged that core technology to develop the hybrid cloud Weka Data Platform for high-performance workloads in AI, machine learning, high-performance computing and other data-intensive workloads.
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“What we’re seeing is that more and more value-added resellers are beginning to get religion around things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, large-scale container environments, moving to the hybrid cloud,” said WekaIO President Jonathan Martin in an interview with CRN. “And so this is an opportunity for [partners] to take advantage of what is a sea change in the industry.”
With the exception of working directly with a couple of legacy customers, WekaIO sells exclusively through the channel. The company’s go-to-market motion has traditionally focused on OEM relationships with leading data center and storage system manufacturers, including Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Super Micro Computer, who bundle WekaIO’s software with their products and sell them through their partner networks, said Jeff Echols, WekaIO vice president, channel and strategic partnerships, in the interview.
In 2020, for example, WekaIO established an OEM relationship with Hitachi Vantara under which the company integrated WekaIO’s scalable file storage software with its Hitachi Content Platform.
Earlier this month WekaIO and systems giant Lenovo unveiled the Lenovo ThinkSystem SDS Ready Nodes, which combine Lenovo ThinkSystem servers with the Weka Data Platform for high-performance, data-heavy workloads in AI, data analytics and other tasks.
WekaIO also has long offered its software on the Amazon Web Services cloud platform and more recently supported the Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Oracle cloud platforms. “And we’re looking to expand to other clouds going forward,” said Colin Gallagher, product marketing vice president, in the interview.
WekaIO now sees the market at an inflection point. Beyond early adopters and large enterprises, a broader range of businesses and organizations are considering implementing AI and machine learning systems and are looking for more complete solutions from the VARs and systems integrators they work with.
Red River, a Claremont, N.H.-based strategic service provider, is one such partner that WekaIO has been working with. “Weka has brought significant competitive advantage to Red River’s solutions portfolio. The Weka Data Platform solution is helping us to deliver greater value to our commercial and federal government customers, in particular around AI and HPC in the cloud,” said Sara Siddiqui, director of partner strategy at Red River, in a statement.
“We are excited to expand our partnership under the new Weka X Partner Program, which provides simple, seamless training and a streamlined go-to-market motion that will reduce the barriers to sales and ensure our team can be successful,” Siddiqui said.
“This market is evolving very rapidly,” Martin said. “We see resellers becoming a more natural path to take that technology to market and bring these projects to life and they‘re going to do it in conjunction with a hardware vendor, cloud vendor, Weka and probably a bunch of other solutions around ML ops, observability and so on.”
And that is the impetus for the new Weka X global channel partner program. “This is really us making a concerted push into the reseller channel and bringing [to partners] this game-changing technology,” Martin said. “There‘s a ton of education and enablement around it. And we also are trying to massively simplify and streamline our relationship with resellers through new tools, accelerated deal registration, tiered benefits and so on.”
The Weka X Partner Program, which is live effective immediately, offers three tiers: Pro, Prime and Premier, aligned to annual revenue generated with WekaIO. The company will use the program to work with existing partners as well as recruit new partners, Echols said.
Topping the list of program offerings are Weka Xpert training, certifications, tools and other resources available through the Weka X Partner Portal. The Weka X Deal Registration Program offers price protection, discounts, incentives and other capabilities for streamlined deals. Premier partners are eligible for additional benefits including a dedicated success team and marketing and demand-generation support.
“What we‘re doing now with this announcement is really expanding out our own VAR program so that we can enable those partners,” channel executive Echols said. “Empowering our global channel partner network is a top priority for us.”
Partners can procure the Weka Data Platform directly from the vendor or through one of the company’s server OEM or cloud partners and partners are credited either way.
With Weka X the company is targeting resellers, systems integrators and other solution providers that have developed AI, machine learning and high-performance computing practices and are looking to expand. The program is also looking to enlist MSPs and service providers that offer AI, ML and HPC as cloud services. And the company plans to use the new program as a vehicle for international expansion by recruiting partners outside of North America.