SunGard Opens Cloud Services To Channel

The move to launch a cloud computing channel play comes just after Wayne, Penn.-based SunGard Availability Services, the service provider business within SunGard, launched its SunGard Enterprise Cloud Services, a cloud computing services offering that pits SunGard against cloud stalwarts like Terremark, which was recently acquired by Verizon, Savvis and AT&T.

"We didn't want to come out and say, 'We have the 38th cloud service in the industry,'" said SunGard Availability Services CTO Indu Kodukula during an interview at the Cloud Connect conference in Santa Clara, Calif. earlier this month. "The cloud is an extension of our existing platform for existing customers."

Kodukula said roughly 80 percent of SunGard's installed base is engaged in the cloud in some way. And now the company is turning to its channel to get those users up to speed.

Melissa McCoy, vice president of channel programs at SunGard Availability Services, said next month the company will offer its Enterprise Cloud Services to members of its Solution Provider Program and launch a new set of tools and resources that help partners sell the cloud.

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"Partners are making the transition from the hardware and software model to a recurring revenue model," McCoy said, adding that making SunGard Enterprise Cloud Services available to partners will help them in that transition.

SunGard said it looking to boost its channel strategy through the tiered program, which includes authorized partners that receive product through distribution; select partners that receive more account planning and training; and premier partners that receive dedicated sales and marketing teams. McCoy said SunGard is giving partners the opportunity to combine cloud computing services with its existing portfolio to enable partners to offer a full set of solutions and break into the cloud market. Additionally, SunGard is looking to bring aboard select new partners that have customers investigating cloud computing.

"We have a very broad portfolio partners can draw upon to differentiate themselves," she said.

Currently, SunGard boasts 350 partners across its Solution Provider Program and its Referral Partner Program. But McCoy cautioned that bringing cloud computing to the channel isn't a move to swell partner numbers.

"SunGard never wants to have thousands and thousands of partners out there," she said, adding that a smaller number of select partners is SunGard's ideal go-to-market.

Last year, SunGard launched a new partner portal, and cloud solution providers will also receive access. And in the second quarter the company plans to launch an online quoting tool for cloud solution providers, which can be used in concert with deal registration and other tools.

Additionally, McCoy said, every partner receives a channel sales director or partner manager.

Launched last month, SunGard Enterprise Cloud Services is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service play built on Vblock technology from VMware, Cisco and EMC's VCE business. The services offer managed compute, network, storage and security services for production applications, and users also have access to SunGard's portfolio of other managed hosting, storage and recovery services.

Including both multi-tenant and dedicated private cloud solutions and options for intrusion detection, SunGard Enterprise Cloud Services are backed by SLAs that guarantee 99.95 percent cloud infrastructure availability and which support both the VM infrastructure and the hardware.

Along with the IaaS play launched last month, SunGard also offers Cloud Readiness Assessment and Migration Services that allow partners to evaluate customer environments and determine their preparedness for migrating to the cloud.

"We've been working really hard to solve the harder use cases of how the cloud fits in existing infrastructure," Kodukula said.

Kodukula said that for most partners taking on SunGard Availability Services' Enterprise Cloud Services offerings will have the ability to upgrade existing clients into the cloud. It also opens the door for cloud readiness assessments and other services offerings.

"Typically, the journey is that every CIO has an existing portfolio and that creates significant work up front for a partner," he said.