CloudBolt, A Cloud-Management Startup Riding A Wave Of Major Enterprise Engagements, Launches A Channel

CloudBolt, a cloud-management startup helmed by Internet pioneer Jon Mittelhauser, has launched a channel program to meet surging demand from a host of enterprise customers, including some of the world's largest retailers, manufacturers and hospitality vendors.

The software developer based in Campbell, Calif., has named seven inaugural partners who will join the new program, Mittelhauser, the company's CEO and a co-founder of Netscape, told CRN.

"We've hit the phase where we were starting to accelerate sales and penetration into the market," Mittelhauser said. "Being a startup, I can only hire in new sales regions so fast."

[Related: CloudBolt, Helmed By Internet Pioneer, Integrates SDN, Containers]

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CloudBolt's inaugural partners are: August Schell, based in Rockville, Md.; Carahsoft, based in Reston, Va.; CDW, based in Vernon Hills, Ill.; ePlus, based in Herndon, Va.; HPM Networks, based in Fremont, Calif.; pureIntegration, based in Herndon, Va.; and Riverturn, based in Durham, N.C.

Those seven solution providers vary by size and specialization, but they share some common traits, Mittelhauser said.

All are trusted VARs and systems integrators that have strong relationships with large enterprise clients. They're all innovators with serious technical chops, capable of working with technical solutions engineering teams.

"We want a type of channel partner that's going to come in and get their hands dirty," Mittelhauser told CRN.

Most of those partners are also aligned with the VMware channel -- many CloudBolt customers, including a few from the Fortune 100, operate large VMware installations in addition to their public cloud deployments.

CloudBolt has already closed deals with more than half of its new partners, and is working on deals with the rest.

"They sell into the right markets, and they already have the deep relationships," Mittelhauser said. "They know who has the pain points that we address."

Those pain points result from enterprises dealing with increasingly complex IT environments and unruly hybrid clouds, he said.

Bill Schell, CEO and founder of August Schell, one of CloudBolt's new partners, told CRN that the technology is easy to deploy, elegant and gives customers an "extreme amount of power to pick best-of-value products."

The management solution makes it easy to "flip between clouds based on the economics," Schell said.

August Schell specializes in implementing complex computing initiatives, with a focus on the federal government.

The company has long been active in automating data centers. It once worked closely with OpsWare, a pioneering automation developer formed by some of Mittelhauser's former colleagues at Netscape and later acquired by Hewlett-Packard.

Some of CloudBolt's engineering team is made up of OpsWare veterans, Schell said, and they are deeply aware of the challenges that plague large-scale integration efforts.

"It's got really deep tentacles into the underlying fabric," Schell said of the CloudBolt solution. "It reaches out to your infrastructure, and you're literally up and running, certainly within hours, with your basic cloud infrastructure."

August Schell has also worked with VMware since its early days, combining data center automation with virtualization -- a step toward what is now called the software-defined networking (SDN).

CloudBolt helps enable true SDN deployments.

"You have to have a product like CloudBolt that's mature enough to install, and then you can begin the tweaking to what your customers need," he said.

Mittelhauser told CRN that developing a channel was a relatively straightforward process. The key factor was determining what potential partners would need from CloudBolt to enable sales, from tools to training to access to engineers.