Ingram Micro, VMware Team Up For Public Sector Solutions For Partners

Continuing the two companies' strategic partnership, Ingram Micro has become a public sector distributor for VMware in an effort to help partners better take advantage of a federal market on the edge of a transformation, the companies announced this week.

The partnership makes Ingram Micro a VMware Federal Distribution Partner and gives it access to marketing, support and the ability to sell the entire VMware portfolio to its federal channel partners.

The timing is right for channel partners, Ingram Micro's Executive Director of Vertical Markets Mike Humke told CRN, because, while Ingram works with other vendors in the public sector such as Cisco and Panasonic, its partnership with VMware gives partners more access to best-in-class solutions as more of the federal government increasingly looks to adopt the cloud.

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"It's a multibillion-dollar market, and the market is primed for change," Humke said. "There is a market shift going on. It's not just a hardware play anymore, and our customers are looking for new solutions. It's all based on consolidation, virtualization, security, collaboration. What it really comes down to is how I support the customers and help them lower their costs while helping them improve the way they do business. ...It’s a tremendous opportunity for our partners that are committed to that space, but you just can't lead with hardware."

Ingram Micro and VMware already have a strong strategic partnership in place, Bill Brandel, senior director, Advanced Computing Division at Ingram Micro, said, and this partnership looks to extend the success from the commercial marketplace to the public sector.

"I think it's an exciting time for both Ingram [and] the federal marketplace, [as well as] the whole public sector. There's an opportunity in this space as the tech continues to grow and evolve. That’s going to be something we're very excited to face head on," Brandel said.

Public sector cloud is a huge opportunity for solution providers right now, said Rob Davies, vice president of public sector services at CA Technologies.

"I think the mandates have been set and [people] looked at it and believe it can work," Davies said. "I think we just need a couple of really good examples where it has. As the shift in government -- how the government consumes [the cloud] -- is realized, there's just going to be a lot of opportunities in that space. ... It still has yet to be realized."

However, the government hasn't been the quickest to move to the cloud, despite the Cloud First mandate that requires agencies to consider a cloud solution when updating its systems. According to a recent Accenture study, only one out of the 20 migrations submitted to the Government Accountability Office in 2012 had been completed, and only 10 percent of agencies had migrated more than half of their IT portfolio to the cloud.

NEXT: Cloud Challenges Force Partners To Change Technology, Market Approach

The cloud challenge in the public sector is a good one, Ingram Micro's Brandel said, because it is forcing partners to grow their technology and approach to the market regarding the cloud, instead of relying on a more traditional hardware reselling model.

"What I would say is that it’s a good problem to have. If you look at the solutions and what VMware is doing, when you look at that technology, this is a critical technology that is the direction all of the industry is headed," Brandel said. "The partner community today is still working in a hardware-centered mentality. ... It's kind of forcing people to think different about how they go to market and how they provide solutions to their partners."

The Ingram Micro and VMware partnership is being backed by a dedicated VMware sales team as well as channel development professionals within Ingram. The sales team will specialize in the U.S. civilian, defense and intelligence markets and will be led by Ingram Micro's​ Humke.

"We have to go out and build a partner community between VMware and Ingram to expand their partner breadth; then, we have to work on enabling technology and sales prospects to go out of the office and implement the solutions," Brandel said.

In terms of creating partnerships and making moves in the federal sector, this isn't the end for Ingram Micro, Brandel said.

"You should absolutely stay tuned. There will be a lot more," Brandel said.