CRN Exclusive: Cloudistics Launches Channel Program Around Virtual Data Center Platform

Cloudistics formally launched a channel program Thursday to enlist resellers in bringing to market a data center platform designed to simplify on-premises cloud deployment and operations.

Partners participating in a soft launch are already dramatically ramping sales of the Reston, Va.-based vendor's technology, which delivers composable private clouds with capabilities and economics meant to challenge the wave of public cloud adoption.

Cloudistics introduced a program for MSPs in June, looking to deliver to services providers a technology that could immediately enable new practices. Since then, channel executives have come to the company eager to expand the program to VARs, systems integrators, and ISVs.

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"The very first thing on my priority list was to launch a partner program," Chris Myhill, who came from Lenovo to join Cloudistics two months ago as vice president of channel sales, told CRN.

After speaking to Cloudistics partners, and adopting what he saw as the best elements of the Lenovo program, Myhill helped usher in the new channel structure, along with a portal for partners to register deals and find enablement and training opportunities.

Cloudistics hyper-converged infrastructure can be rapidly configured to run services such as Docker and Splunk. The virtual data center solution is meant to compete with public and private cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and VMware, respectively, more than pure-play hyper-converged vendors.

The value proposition is greater control of where data resides, reduced and predictable spending, and the simplicity of a Software-as-a-Service management plane that spans all hardware components and extends into the application layer.

"We can go in and say, 'the reason you're moving to the cloud, we can deliver that on-premises,'" Myhill told CRN.

Cloudistics compliments those infrastructure capabilities with an online software marketplace that facilitates deployment of popular applications and add-on analytic tools.

Since the program first geared up eight weeks ago, almost 100 solution providers have become registered resellers, and they've funneled into the company's sales pipeline some $25 million in deals.

While the MSP program introduced in June was a "meet in the channel" arrangement with partners, the new program, which adds a track focused on resellers and integrators and another on technology partners, formally solidifies channel alliances.

The MSP track became a segment of the larger program, explained Dan Mroz, Cloudistics director of channel sales and alliances, who worked with Myhill at Lenovo.

Some of the solution providers that have gravitated to Cloudistics were previously working with OpenStack, but frustrated by that system's complexity, Mroz said.

Others have expertise in specific types of workloads, such as Splunk, and value the ability to deploy those images in under 15 minutes from the marketplace.

"They see the chance to move away from typical deployment services and focus on consulting services," Mroz told CRN.

Ultimately, in an emerging hybrid world, the company plans on building out connectors into the public cloud, though can't yet dive into specifics on that strategy.

"Our roadmap, safe to say, for early next year includes peer-to-peer activities, hybrid capabilities," Mroz told CRN.

Craig Bradley, a partner at Houston-headquartered solution provider Ikon Tech, said Cloudistics technology blew him away when he first saw it demonstrated. And once he evaluated the pricing, becoming a reseller was a no-brainer.

"It's the most-disruptive product I've seen in 30 years," Bradley told CRN.

"Besides giving you this awesome first step to the cloud you can actually manage on-prem, the economics are phenomenal," Bradley said. "It's literally a fraction of what [customers are] paying for 3-tier environments or even hyper-converged, because they've got the whole stack built into one, networking, storage, compute, hypervisor and management."

The word "composable" has been thrown around a lot of late, Bradley said, but Cloudistics is the first solution he's seen that really lives up to that promise of highly flexible, software-defined infrastructure. Networking, storage, and compute all can be provisioned independently to meet user requirements, yet all are managed from the same pane of glass.

Cloudistics platform is a unique solution to bring to market at a time when some early adopters are actually pulling back from public cloud, he said.

"Cloud recoil is real," Bradley said, driven by concerns about latency, compliance, hidden fees and data residency.

While the end-goal of the industry remains a public delivery model, on-premises clouds provide a means for many customers to move in that direction.

That's what OpenStack is looking to do, he said of the open source cloud-building software. "But you need an army with OpenStack."

And Cloudistics, with its new channel execs, has become a vendor entirely committed to indirect sales.

"They want partners engaged in everything, and they're making that happen. They're going all channel, all the time," Bradley told CRN.

Cloudistics technology builds multi-tenant clouds with storage, courtesy of Red Hat, delivered in isolated blocks dedicated to virtual machines.

The platform leverages Pica8 technology at the network virtualization layer and Red Hat's KVM hypervisor, although some components of both kernels were ripped out and replaced with proprietary technology.

That software bundle currently runs on Dell's iDRAF configuration, although code sets are being developed to support Lenovo and possibly Supermicro standards in the future.

The platform can be purchased as an appliance or software with a reference architecture.