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Amazon, VMware Prepare Cross-Channel Cloud Strategy

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger
Pat Gelsinger

When VMware Cloud on AWS officially debuts in 2017, it's safe to expect channel partner program opportunities from both companies, according to VMWare (VMW) CEO Pat Gelsinger.

VMware and Amazon (AMZN) announced their cloud partnership earlier this month. The move sets the stage for multiple VMware cloud services built atop Amazon Web Services. The self-service, direct sales opportunities (from VMware and AWS to enterprise customers) are obvious. But less is known about each company's channel plans for the various VMware-AWS services.

Still, new clues about the partner program efforts surfaced during VMware's quarterly earnings call on Oct. 26, 2016. Early VMware Cloud on AWS adopters will likely be large, strategic enterprise customers, according to VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. But over time the platform will become a broad marketing officering, he added.

As interest grows beyond larger strategic accounts, "we will make it broadly available through our channel program as well as Amazon's channel program for their marketplace offerings," Gelsinger said. "We also will engage with mutual partners for it as well, including some of our largest system integrator partners. They've shown quite a lot of interest in that capability over time. So broadly available through our channel, broadly available through the Amazon channel and that will ramp up as the offering matures in 2017 and into 2018."

In the meantime, VMware's business appears to be accelerating. The company's Q3 revenue, announced yesterday, was $1.78 billion -- up 6 percent from the third quarter of 2015. Demand for VMware's network and storage virtualization offerings -- NSX and VSAN -- remains in growth mode. While the AWS relationship is just starting, VMware pointed to cloud momentum with IBM. Nearly 1,000 customers are embracing IBM-VMware solutions, Gelsinger said.

At the same time, VMware parent Dell Technologies will carefully position its own cloud services provider (Virtustream) away from head-on competition vs. AWS and Microsoft Azure. A Virtustream partner program, part of the broader Dell EMC channel strategy, is expected in early 2017.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.