ARC 2014: Top 10 Partner Cloud Programs And Opportunities

The Best Vendor Cloud Programs

Cloud computing presents solution providers with one of their biggest business opportunities in years. It also presents the challenge of learning new skills, adopting new business models and selling new technologies.

And that's where IT vendor cloud programs come into the picture. This year, in the Annual Report Card survey, CRN asked solution providers to score their IT vendors on the cloud programs and opportunities they provide.

Which IT vendors are most effectively helping solution providers move to the cloud? Here's the 10 best, counting down to the vendor with the top-ranked cloud programs and opportunities.

10. VMware: Desktop & Server Virtualization

CEO: Pat Gelsinger

VMware came in second overall in this product category behind Microsoft. But the virtualization technology vendor's 68.2 score for cloud programs and opportunities narrowly bested Microsoft's 67.8 and was good enough to crack the Top 10 of highest cloud program/opportunity scores in this year's ARC.

9. EMC: Backup & Recovery Software

CEO: Joe Tucci

EMC earned a score of 68.6 from solution providers for its cloud programs and opportunities. That far and away led the cloud program/opportunity scores earned by IBM (57.7) and Symantec (55.5) in the backup and recovery software product category.

8. Hewlett-Packard: Converged Infrastructure Systems

CEO: Meg Whitman

Hewlett-Packard scored 70.0 for its cloud programs and opportunities in this product category. While that was good enough to make No. 8 on our list -- and to beat Cisco (score: 61.3) in this product category -- it still fell short of the cloud program/opportunity score earned by the overall winner in the converged infrastructure systems category (see No. 2).

7. EMC: Network Storage SMB

CEO: Joe Tucci

EMC scored 70.8 for the cloud programs and opportunities it offers partners in this product category. While EMC was the overall winner in network storage SMB, however, its cloud program/opportunity score was lower than a key competitor in this market (see No. 6).

Buffalo Technology scored 64.8 for cloud program/opportunity and Dell scored 55.8.

6. D-Link: Network Storage SMB

CEO: Roger Kao

While EMC was the overall winner in this product category, D-Link ranked highest here in cloud program/opportunity with a score of 71.7 -- almost a full point higher than EMC.

5. Sophos: Network Security Appliances

CEO: Kris Hagerman

Channel partners gave Sophos a score of 71.8 in this product category for its cloud programs and opportunities. That was one reason Sophos came out No. 1 overall in network security appliances against rivals Fortinet, Cisco, McAfee, Dell, Trend Micro and Juniper -- all of whom had cloud program/opportunity scores far below that of Sophos.

4. Microsoft: Business Analytics

CEO: Satya Nadella

Microsoft was the overall winner in this product category this year and its 71.9 score for cloud programs and opportunities was a reason why. The software giant was far ahead of cloud program/opportunity scores partners gave IBM (64.2) and Oracle (62.4).

3. Sophos: Client Security Software

CEO: Kris Hagerman

Sophos scored 75.7 for its cloud programs and opportunities in client security software, more than a dozen points ahead of competitors Kaspersky Lab, McAfee and Trend Micro -- a factor in Sophos' overall ARC win in this product category.

2. Dell: Converged Infrastructure Systems

CEO: Michael Dell

Dell scored 77.2 for its cloud programs and opportunities in this product category, beating HP (No. 8 on our list), Cisco and IBM. Last year, in fact, Dell was No. 3 in converged infrastructure systems and this year's high score for cloud program/opportunity helped boost it to No. 1 overall in this competitive product category.

1. Microsoft: Collaboration Software

CEO: Satya Nadella

A key goal for Microsoft's managers in recent years has been to transform the vendor into a cloud computing company and bring its legions of channel partners into the cloud arena.

Those efforts are apparently paying off. Microsoft scored 79.0 for its cloud programs and opportunities in the collaboration software category -- the highest score given to any vendor for this criterion in this year's ARC survey.

In collaboration software, Microsoft's score was far above what solution providers gave competitors IBM (62.2) and Citrix (58.2).