On the cloud platform front, the Irvine, Calif.-based distribution giant has shipped a major new edition of Odin Service Automation, the cloud computing marketplace platform it acquired from Parallels Holdings Ltd. last December. The new release features a redesigned control panel that's designed to be more intuitive, new support for tablets and other mobile form factors, and software development kits for adding new customer payment options.
Currently used by some 4,000 cloud resellers, Odin Service Automation also serves as the foundation for Ingram Micro’s own cloud computing marketplace. The distributor has yet to incorporate any of the latest Odin functionality into that site, but both it and Odin Service Automation are key elements of what Ingram Micro calls its “ecosystem of cloud,” a collection of tools and partnerships aimed at helping resellers capitalize on online service opportunities.
Ingram Micro made major additions to that ecosystem in April, when it introduced a new white label cloud storefront and cloud referral program, along with a new version of Odin Service Automation that sophisticated cloud resellers, such as 1-tier members of Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider program, can use to build Ingram Micro’s cloud marketplace offerings into their existing provisioning and payment systems. Though interest in the cloud referral program has lagged to date, adoption of the cloud store solution has been brisk, according to Jason Bystrak, executive director for Ingram Micro Cloud in the Americas.
“That’s seeing some pretty good uptick right now,” he says, adding that the distributor has been seeing strong demand for the Microsoft Azure services it began offering last month as well. Bystrak surmises that’s because resellers prefer Ingram Micro’s pay-as-you-go pricing to the prepay $100 “Azure Monetary Commitment credits” they have to purchase when acquiring Azure through Microsoft’s Open License program.
“They’re billed based on what they use,” he says. “It’s a much more effective business model, and I think it’s the way most people choose to leverage the value of cloud.”
The Azure-related technical and sales guidance Ingram Micro is providing its channel is further fueling demand, he adds.
“There is a lot of training, enablement, and things like that that we’re doing to help partners build their practice on that,” he says of Azure.
Ingram Micro also disclosed today that Acronis Backup for Microsoft Office 365 Email, the new data protection solution for Office 365 messages, calendar entries, and attachments rolled out by Acronis International GmbH this morning, is now available on the Ingram Micro cloud marketplace. In conjunction with that announcement, the distributor also introduced a promotional offer granting partners one free gigabyte of storage capacity in that system.
“It’s a great way for them to get their end customers onto the backup service,” Bystrak says, noting that Acronis VARs have the flexibility to profit from that free storage any way they wish.
“They can charge for that one gigabyte or give it away as a loss leader to get customers going,” he observes.
This year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference promises to be a busy one for Ingram Micro. In addition to being a diamond-level sponsor with a major presence on the conference show floor, the distributor has won the Microsoft Partner Network Partner of the Year Award for best distributor.
“We’re particularly excited because, when Microsoft talked to us about why they chose us, a lot of it was tied to what we’re doing with our cloud strategy,” Bystrak says.