By Mark Davison at IBM PartnerWorld, Las Vegas

In what’s been described as a “one of a kind” agreement, IBM yesterday (14 February 2017 announced that its channel partners will now be able to sell VMware subscription-based solutions running on the IBM Cloud.

IBM Business Partners can now provide a one-stop shop for clients looking to migrate their on-premises VMware platforms to the cloud by providing a portfolio of lifecycle services including planning, architecture, migration and end-to-end management.

Meg Swanson, vice-president, marketing for IBM Cloud, says the significance of the partnership between the two companies for partners is profound.

“This is a first of a kind relationship with VMware,” she says. “And it opens up an entire new market for our Business Partners with all the VMware installations around the globe. We’re very excited to bring this to our partners.”

Swanson would not be drawn on projected revenue from the partnership but, with cloud revenue expected to top $146-billion in 2017 and with VMware’s vast market, it could be significant.

“Very significant,” she says. “You just have to look at the penetration VMware has into the enterprise; the sheer volume of machines that they have. We have so many partners that have divisions focused on VMware, but where they can’t reach into that market. Now, it just kicks in.

“If you look at the agreement signed between IBM and VMware last year in terms of providing services, the logic was that our Business Partners should have access too.

“Today, they have that access,” she adds.

Swanson says partner reaction to the news has been more than positive. “Partners hearing about the agreement today have been asking for it for months,” she says. “And now that they’ve got it, we’ve had very positive response.
“You know it’s positive when partners are asking for order numbers,” she adds.

Sergio Farache, senior vice-president, strategy and specialist business units at long-term IBM partner Avnet, says the agreement will accelerate the adoption of hybrid cloud.

“The availability of VMware solutions on IBM Cloud gives our partners a valuable resource to further drive hybrid cloud adoption among their customers,” Farache says. “This is critical as more companies deploy cognitive computing, data analytics and IoT solutions. Avnet solutions specialists are at the ready to help partners rapidly develop cloud solutions that best meet their customers’ needs. Our IBM business partners will have access to VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud, as well as our Avnet VMware Plug-ins, through the Avnet Cloud Marketplace and IBM-related education services to further hone their skillsets.”

With VMware Cloud Foundation and other VMware-based cloud services running on the IBM Cloud, both clients and channel partners can now automatically provision pre-configured VMware Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) environments. The automated platform integrates VMware vSphere, vSAN, NSX and SDDC Manager and gives customers broad choice in their infrastructure decisions. With more than 1 000 clients engaged, the global partnership between IBM and VMware is helping more organisations extend existing workloads to the cloud in hours versus weeks or months.

“Enterprises need fast and easy ways to deploy and move workloads between private and public cloud environments,” says Zane Adam, vice-president of IBM Cloud. “By being the first to market with channel partners and VMware, IBM is enabling organisations to scale and create new business opportunities while making the most of their existing IT investments in a hybrid cloud environment.”

Adds Ajay Patel, senior vice-president, Cloud Provider Software at VMware: “IBM and VMware share a common goal of empowering organisations to quickly and easily extend their workloads to the cloud. Through the IBM and VMware strategic partnership, customers can easily move and implement enterprise applications and disaster recovery solutions across a global network of cloud data centres.”

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