From The Editor | June 8, 2010

Ingram Micro Unveils Cloud Conduit


By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor

During the hectic day of presentations at Ingram Micro's Cloud Summit in Dallas on June 7, I got a chance to sit down in a quiet room for a few minutes with Jason Beal, director of services sales for Ingram Micro, and an integral part of the Seismic team. He explained to me the goals of the newly unveiled Ingram Micro Cloud Conduit program.

Beal explained that, just as Ingram had with managed services, it wanted to be proactive in providing partners support and education as cloud computing sweeps into the industry and begins to impact business for both vendors and solution providers. "We saw similar anxiety in the early stages of managed services," says Beal, rattling off concerns such as "what is my role in managed services," and "how will managed services impact by IT business." When that happened with managed services, Ingram dove in and created Seismic, offering both best of class products as well as tools and training to help solutions providers migrate to the managed services model.

Now, says Beal, the distributor is seeing similar reaction around the concept of cloud computing. Again, it is working to create vendor partnerships and grow a roster of training and education programs to help its partners tackle this trend – the Cloud Conduit program. "Our Cloud Conduit program is a training and education vehicle that is going to help our partners tackle the questions of what it is and then how to handle it," explains Beal. The offering will include both internal tools for partners, but also outward facing tools such as marketing collateral, contracts, educational support, etc. "We want them to understand their role and provide them with specific, concrete how-tos."

On the other side of the equation are Ingram's relationship with vendors that are weighing in heavily on the cloud computing front. "We want to help them understand the channel, and then also leverage their expertise with the cloud; Ingram Micro wants to bridge that gap between the cloud vendors and the channel because they don't always understand each other," says Beal.