Channel partner events, Channel partner programs, CSPs, MSP, VAR

Docker Containers and Synnex Distribution? Oh My

Rob Moyer

In a quiet corner at the Synnex Varnex conference, Rob Moyer is pulling back the curtain -- just a bit -- on the Synnex CloudSolv strategy for channel partners. The conversation with ChannelE2E includes some familiar themes. But there are also some surprises -- including a serious bet on container technology and Docker.

Synnex CloudSolv is a management and deployment platform that helps channel partners to activate cloud solutions for their end-customers. Moyer, VP of software and cloud services at Synnex, isn't pursuing a toe-to-toe cloud marketplace battle against Ingram Micro, Tech Data and other distributors. Instead of vetting hundreds of software and SaaS solutions for online distribution, Moyer discreetly but purposely made a few strategic bets -- including Docker, Microsoft Office 365, Google G Suite (particularly for education) and Red Hats.

"We built the strategy around trend-lines," says Moyer. "You don't fight trends. Instead, partners build services around the trends. Microsoft and Google make the phone ring. Red Hat and Docker are disruptive."

So far, so good. Synnex's U.S. cloud revenues are up about 50 percent in 2016. The overall customer base has also grown about 50 percent to 4,000 organizations. And Synnex CloudSolv has about 5.5 million seats under management.

Synnex Starts with Office 365

For most distributors and small VARs, Microsoft Office 365 has become the doorway to cloud computing. So it's no surprise that Synnex bet so heavily on that cloud suite. Moyer says the relationship with Microsoft is going extremely well for Synnex and its channel partners.

More than just "reselling" Office 365, partners are looking to automate the procurement and provisioning of that suite. And CloudSol, he asserts, delivers that automation. "We had a partner place 27 orders for 27 different customers in a single day -- without a single call to us for help," says Moyer.

Certainly, the Red Hat and Google G Suite bets also sound logical. Red Hat has successfully expanded from Linux to storage, virtualization and cloud solutions. And Google G Suite has been particularly popular with Synnex's partners in the education sector.

Synnex Embraces Docker

No doubt, Docker is now wildly popular in the corporate IT departments -- especially within businesses that are moving application workloads between on-premises and cloud systems.

But it's still early for container technology in the channel. Docker's formalized channel partner program emerged in September 2016. And yet Synnex and Docker have had a North America distribution agreement in place since April 2016.

Synnex bet early on Docker because the software company had high-quality venture capital backers. As the Docker engine became embedded in Windows Server and offered on public clouds, Synnex realized that the container trend would become ubiquitous. "Think about what virtualization did for the server when that became a trend," Moyer says. "Now apply that example to Docker. I would argue that Docker is going to drive up billable hours. You'll see data migration as a service, container as a service, and more.

Next Up: IoT

Watch for Synnex to connect the dots between its cloud and IoT efforts. There, relationships with companies like Verizon Business will be particularly important, Moyer says. He also sees more opportunities for Synnex to empower partners for vertical markets like public transportation, water and utility services, building and facilities management and more.

Synnex shared some of that messaging during the Varnex conference earlier this month in Las Vegas. The distributor also hosted a sister event -- CloudCatalyst -- at the same location. So far, roughly 600 partners have joined the Synnex CloudSolv community.

It's a quiet movement. But it sounds legitimate.

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.