Dell EMC Bringing Mission-Critical Cloud Power Virtustream Into Channel Program

Dell EMC is moving Virtustream into its channel program, cementing the fast-growing enterprise IaaS start-up's position as "Dell EMC's cloud" and the logical choice for solution providers that already sell Dell EMC enterprise hardware.

The move to the Dell EMC Partner Program means solution providers will be able to retire full tier credit in the Dell EMC program when they sell Virtustream Enterprise Cloud, said Scott Millard, head of Virtustream's channel operation. Partners will also make front-end margin, have flexible selling options and get back-end rebates at the highest level under the Dell EMC program.

The Virtustream Enterprise Cloud's move into the Dell EMC partner program is effective immediately and was announced today at the Dell EMC World conference in Las Vegas.

[Related: Dell EMC World 2017]

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"It's huge," Millard said, noting that Virtusteam's goal is to reach $1 billion in bookings this year. "Unlike any of the other IaaS [offerings] out there, partners will retire full tier credit in the Dell EMC program. When you sell Virtustream, you're selling Dell compute, Dell networking, Dell storage, Dell data protection, Dell virtualization and managed services all in one. They're big deals. We've done a couple of really significant deals through Dell EMC Titanium partners – seven- and eight-figure deals with us – without even really trying. We're just getting this thing off the ground. It's a pretty good story for the channel."

"Virtustream is Dell EMC's cloud," Millard said. "Unless there is a heavy investment or preference already for one of those other clouds, it's a pretty logical decision to go with Dell's cloud just based on keeping it in the family, engineering integration, one number to call for support, the partner program. When you look at the total value prop from a solutioning and partner program and profitability standpoint, I think it's a pretty easy decision."

Virtustream Enterprise Cloud follows Virtustream's Storage Cloud into the Dell EMC program. Storage Cloud is the hyper-scale object storage version of Virtustream's offering and competes directly with public cloud heavyweights like AWS and Microsoft Azure, while Enterprise Cloud is aimed at mission-critical workloads like SAP, Oracle, electronic medical record systems and other never-fail applications and competes with the likes of IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, CenturyLink and others.

Scott Winslow, president of Winslow Technology Group, a Waltham, Mass., solution provider that works with Dell EMC, said Virtustream makes a lot of sense for partners who work with Dell EMC infrastructure and have customers that are making a move to the cloud. Having Virtustream Enterprise Cloud in the Dell EMC program is likely to kick-start more customers into making those decisions, he said, and allow solution providers to take on deals and customers that are bigger than they're used to.

"We're very focused on the software-defined data center, and helping our customers understand what data should stay on-prem, what should be in the cloud and how to best structure that," Winslow said. That strategy has led Winslow into a lot of VxRail, VxRack and XC Nutanix hyper-convergence sales and he suspects it'll result in Virtustream sales, too.

"We fight above our weight class a lot of the time, and it's likely we'll do more Virtustream business in the future. It's a fit for a lot of those companies that are having conversations about which applications belong where. A lot of times we come up with a hybrid solution. OEMs are the gateway to the cloud."

Virtustream was launched by CEO Rodney Rogers in 2009. EMC acquired the Bethesda, Md.-based company in mid-2015 for about $1.2 billion, making it one of the companies that comprised the EMC "federation" of companies. It became part of the Dell EMC family of businesses when Dell acquired EMC in a $58 billion deal last September.

Until now, Virtustream Enterprise Cloud has operated its own channel program, though its partner base was essentially the Dell EMC partner base, Millard said.