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Virtustream Preps Cloud Partner Program

Scott Millard
Scott Millard

Virtustream, the public cloud provider owned by Dell Technologies, is preparing a partner program and building closer relationships with sister companies such as Pivotal. New Virtustream Channel Chief Scott Millard previewed the moves to ChannelE2E during Dell EMC World 2016 today in Austin, Texas.

First, a little background: Dell acquired Virtustream as part of the EMC buyout, which became official in September 2016. Virtustream is a combination MSP-CSP with roughly 20 data centers worldwide. The company specializes in running mission-critical SaaS applications like SAP for midsize and enterprise customers. A microservices architecture allows the CSP to carefully manage customer workloads and associated billing details.

Scott Millard, an EMC veteran, joined Virtustream about two weeks ago, and is meeting with partners and customers at this week's Dell EMC World 2016 conference. The CSP already works with a range of partners but a more formalized partner program will arrive in 2017, Millard says.

Virtustream vs. Amazon Web Services?: Yes and No

At first glance, Virtustream competes against Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. That situation could become extra tricky since VMware -- another Dell-controlled company -- recently named AWS as its preferred public cloud provider.

But take a closer look and you'll see that Virtustream downplays the potential AWS rivalry. The AWS-VMware relationship is for general purpose infrastructure, Millard says. In start contrast, the Virtustream-VMware relationship will emphasize specialized, mission-critical applications, he adds.

Moreover, Virtustream focuses mainly on enterprise and midmarket applications, while AWS attracts a lot of startups and small businesses moving to the cloud. To play to those existing strengths, Millard and his team will build closer working relationships with multiple ISVs -- including sister company Pivotal and its Cloud Foundry platform. A joint solution in that area is coming next year, he reveals.

New Guy, Familiar Themes

Although this is only Millard's second week on the job, many of his key messages sound familiar. And for good reason. Millard has clearly studied Virtustream CEO Rodney Rogers' playbook.

During EMC World 2016 back in May, Rogers explained how the CSP differentiates from AWS for mission-critical settings. ChannelE2E captured those thoughts in this May 2016 video:

Video link

Although Virtustream has some clear market differentiators, AWS could be seeking to close those gaps on multiple fronts. Chief among them: The AWS-SAP relationship also continues to grow.

Partners: Getting Started With Virtustream

Dell EMC Channel Chief John Byrne

For established Dell and EMC hardware partners, one of the fastest ways to get started with Virtustream involves the company's Storage Cloud. Partners can link on-premises Dell and EMC storage gear to that cloud service, addressing such customer needs as cloud bursting, business continuity, corporate compliance and more.

Admittedly, the partner journey with Virtustream is just getting started. Millard says he'll work closely with Dell EMC Channel Chief John Byrne to formulate the cloud company's partner program. During today's conference, Byrne said the new Dell EMC Partner Program will launch February 1, 2017. If I had to guess, I suspect Millard's more formalized partner program will launch shortly thereafter...

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.