Watch: Channel Chiefs On Partner Health

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Has the channel completely rebounded from the 2008 financial crisis? At a recent roundtable discussion with channel chiefs from several vendors, the consensus was that partners' businesses are definitely on the upswing.

"You know, we went through that 2008-2009 period, and it was scary," said Dell’s Frank Vitagliano. But Vitagliano said overall partners are doing steady business and seeing growth. "A lot of that has to do with either lessons learned over periods of time," he said, "Or that fact that the economy is in a much better place than it was."

"The majority of partners I’ve talked to are seeing strong growth," said Microsoft’s Cindy Bates. Bates said now the main concern is transitioning partners to models with more aggressive growth potential, like the 13 percent of partners who have fully transitioned to the cloud. "Those guys have figured the model out and they've got rockets on them," she said.

IBM's Tami Duncan agrees that now partners are focused on long-term growth. "It's about, 'Help me invest. I'm doing OK now, but I'm looking to see where the market is going and I'm looking for your help in making that transformation,' " she said.

VMware's Frank Rauch simply put it: "I look at what they drive. There's a lot of money in the channel right now."

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