Tech Data Doubles Down On Hybrid Cloud

Tech Data is investing in hybrid cloud plays as workloads migrate from purely private cloud environments.

The Clearwater, Fla.-based distributor's cloud practice aims to stake out a leadership position around VMware Cloud on AWS, Nutanix on Google Cloud, and Microsoft and Azure Stack, said Stacy Nethercoat, vice president of Tech Data cloud solutions in the Americas.

"The community is coming together to develop hybrid cloud solutions that work well together," Nethercoat told CRN. "Tech Data intends to be at the forefront of taking these solutions to market and working with our partners to ensure their success."

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When it comes to enabling new VMware hybrid cloud scenarios, the Avnet Technology Solutions practice, which Tech Data acquired in Feburary for $2.6 billion, has developed between 25 and 35 plug-ins over the year focused specifically on enabling them to come to life more quickly, Nethercoat said. Tech Data is now the leading distributor for VMware's private cloud and other offerings, she added.

Customers can leverage the plug-ins to form a relationship between VMware's vRealize cloud management platform and cloud offerings from BMC or ServiceNow, Nethercoat said. Tech Data uses these plug-ins in its own services engagements and sells them globally to partners and end users as an ISV partner of BMC and ServiceNow.

On the legacy Tech Data side, Nethercoat said the distributor has focused on blueprints that enable small- and midsize-business or midtier VARs to take Microsoft Azure to market in a way that's consumable and reduces their time to value. Tech Data's offerings around Microsoft Azure include its small-business cloud server and Veeam enterprise backup, according to Nethercoat.

Tech Data also plans to marry its StreamOne platform and the Avnet Cloud Marketplace — which has been rebranded as StreamOne Enterprise Solutions — into a single platform that's wholly aligned with where the industry is heading, she said.

The legacy StreamOne platform focuses largely on Software-as-a-Service offerings and is targeted at SMB and midtier VARs. Infrastructure is also available on the platform and channel partners typically present the offerings under their own brand. StreamOne Enterprise Solutions, meanwhile, is very specifically tuned for Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Nethercoat said, providing the distributor's partners with access to raw compute via Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix and CenturyLink Cloud.

Tech Data's new, integrated cloud platform will attempt to address the role suppliers and channel partners will play in the evolving digital ecosystems and enable them to monetize the cloud through multiple business models.

Although Tech Data had great strength in presales technical support, Nethercoat said the distributor hasn't historically had deep skills in its cloud practice around post-sales delivery, implementation and management.

Since the acquisition of Avnet Technology Solutions closed, Tech Data has been focused on educating its legacy field, cloud and general sales teams about the new post-sales capabilities it inherited, she said.

For Tempe, Ariz.-based RyanTech Cloud Services, the acquisition has helped bring Tech Data's cloud capabilities to another level. Kevin McMillen, founder and CEO of the solution provider, which was named Microsoft Partner of the Year in 2012 and 2014, said Tech Data was instrumental in helping it come up with a way to improve its back-end reporting around customer cloud usage as it looked to build its Microsoft Azure practice, after excelling in Office 365 migrations.

The end result: RyanTech now has visibility through Microsoft Power BI into which customers are underutilizing speci­fic cloud services — leading to a boost in business for the cloud practice, he said.