A New Ethos between Service Providers and VARs

Today (June 25, 2014), Cisco and NetApp announced, FlexPod has passed $3 Billion in joint sales since it’s launch in 2010.  This is a huge figure; what’s more impressive, this wouldn’t be possible without strong channel partners.  FlexPod was born out of a core competency experts and best of breed technology.  Revenues for both companies and its partners are evident but building the right integrated solution came first.  This represents a work of passion; something which partners, such as Service Providers and VARs can deliver to their customers with confidence.


One area of particular interest to me are Service Providers and VARs.  The diversity within each of these businesses are enormous, let alone to each other, however there is one factor which unites them both.  In the Enterprise IT workd, the most successful are the ones who achieve ‘trusted advisor’ status with the CIO.  In many cases, critical functions of the Enterprise business are solely trusted to Service Providers and VARs.


Given that Service Providers and VARs are expected to carry out the interests of Enterprise CIO’s, it’s not possible that those interests sit squarely within the capabilities of one company; in some cases, maybe but not always.  If Enterprise IT are brokering multiple services from different cloud or IT service providers, wouldn’t it make sense that the trusted advisors to the CIO be able to do the same? 


This is where I’m envisioning a new ethos between Service Providers and VARs.  It is no mystery that VARs are having to fulfill their customer’s need to consume hosted Cloud services and that not all IT transactions are a resell motion.  Service Providers are seeing a broader customer need for managed on-premise IT, in addition to hosted services.  VARs who do not yet have the capabilities to deliver hosted services can partner with a Service Provider to complete their portfolios.  Service Providers who may not have business models which profitably stretch into the Enterprise customer’s data centers can rely on VARs to deliver on those ‘last mile’ efforts; and at the very least fulfill a VAR demand for hosted IT services.

When I see this $3 Billion figure, I look beyond that number and instead think about the amount of business this infrastructure solution helped realize.  This is squarely a best of breed solution, built on a partnership of great engineering minds combined and pure play technology components.  The flexibility of this unified solution lends well to how it can be deployed, meeting the needs of on-premises Private Cloud as well as hosted Private Cloud. 


The proof of a great product or solution lies in the auxiliary solutions and ecosystems which are born out of it.  In addition to the successful, independent, best of breed, FlexPod solution portfolio, NetApp and Cisco have also collaborated to deliver specific CVDs (Cisco Validated Designs) providing design and implementation guides for multi-tenant service delivery systems for IaaS.


Enterprise customers have always strived for seamless consumption of IT services.  Cloud as we know it today has delivered beyond what we could have imagined.  The challenge is in how to control and broker these services together.  FlexPod built on Clustered Data ONTAP enables a Cloud Data Fabric for Enterprise IT, Service Providers and VARs alike.  This is a solution which addresses on-premises as well as hosted IT services and with the added advantage of data stewardship, control and portability between these IT delivery areas.


Enterprise IT, Service Provider or VAR, it’s a hybrid IT and Cloud world, at NetApp we believe we are best positioned to enable a diverse infrastructure meeting the needs of business today.