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Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


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News & Articles

June 10, 2019 |

D&H Launches All-New Cloud Marketplace

Part of a larger effort to enable everything-as-a-service business models, the new platform helps partners create, sell, and bill for subscription-priced solution bundles that combine software and hardware with their own managed services.

D&H has rolled out an all-new cloud marketplace designed to help its partners create and sell subscription-priced solutions combining software, hardware, and services.

Previewed to ChannelPro in March and launched last week, the new system is part of a larger campaign on D&H’s part to help traditional VARs meet burgeoning demand for “everything-as-a-service” (XaaS) purchasing options.

“We’ve got aspirations to really help our customers continue to transform into the ‘X’-as-a-service model,” says Jason Bystrak, D&H’s vice president of cloud. “This platform is really a catalyst to help our partners sell ‘X’ as a service and get more into the recurring revenue market.”

Core to that effort are pre-assembled product and service bundles called “cloud clusters” that layer complementary applications in categories like security, BDR, and storage on top of foundational technologies such as Microsoft Office 365. Partners can then add in their own device management, help desk, and other managed services to form end-to-end solutions, and price those packages at whatever monthly rate they wish. D&H’s cloud platform handles the end user billing on a white-label basis automatically.

Users can resell offerings as is from a menu of pre-defined clusters, customize those clusters, or create their own. “You can actually go and create your own SKUs,” Bystrak says.

In addition to Microsoft, vendors available through the new marketplace include Axcient, BitTitan, Carbonite, Dropbox, Dropsuite, ESET, Intermedia, PlumChoice, Sophos, and Webroot.

Functionality that will allow partners to include PCs, servers, and other hardware in clusters is due within the next month. That element of the platform will draw on the device-as-a-service financing program that D&H introduced a little over a year ago.

“We’ll take care of getting the customer approved and handle the monthly financing of the hardware portion of that, so it stays in a monthly subscription,” Bystrak says.

Partners can also sell clusters directly to their clients through the new platform, which includes custom-branded, self-serve ordering functionality. The system lets resellers create multiple product catalogs as well, and then pick and choose which one a specific client sees when browsing the site. “Literally, an MSP could have just one catalog for all of their customers or a different one for each customer if they want,” Bystrak notes, adding that catalogs dedicated to specific vertical industries, use cases, and sales promotions are an option as well.

To help users manage billing for cloud solutions more easily, the new marketplace integrates directly with PSA systems from ConnectWise and Datto’s Autotask unit. “It basically aligns our invoices right into your agreements for your managed services clients in the PSA tool,” says Bystrak of that functionality.

D&H has no plans at present to extend that support to PSA products from Kaseya, SolarWinds MSP, and other vendors. “We’ll consider others as we see demand, but I think we’ve covered the bulk of the market share when it comes to PSA with those two partners,” Bystrak says.

The new D&H marketplace is based on marketplace technology from ALSO Holding AG, a European distributor with a Microsoft-oriented cloud line card much like D&H’s own. The company has recently begun licensing its software, which it originally developed for its own use, to select partners in geographies it has no intention of competing in. D&H has exclusive rights to the platform in North America.

According to Bystrak, the ALSO system’s “Amazon-like” interface makes it easier for partners to learn and use than the cloud marketplace it replaces. “It’s going to be just a much quicker learning curve,” he says. “They don’t have to go through all sorts of training and tutorials to learn to use it.”

Partnering with ALSO is advantageous for D&H’s vendor partners as well, Bystrak emphasizes. Software makers who wish to can take advantage of the common underlying foundation linking D&H’s marketplace with ALSO’s to expand into Europe and other overseas markets more easily.

A typical cloud cluster, Bystrak says, might combine a laptop with Office 365, and file sync and share software from Dropbox. D&H’s DaaS program would add product support, warranty, and end-of-life replacement services for the hardware, and partners could incorporate their own services as well.

A specific cluster available through the system will add a Dropbox subscription to a NAS device from Buffalo Americas, allowing businesses to replicate all of their on-premises data to the local storage array, and from there to the cloud for remote access.

D&H will confirm in advance that all of the products in its pre-assembled clusters integrate effectively. “We’re being very careful about choosing vendor partners,” Bystrak says. “I want to make sure that the vendors work together and actually form a complete technical solution.”

With customers increasingly looking to buy all of their IT needs through predictable monthly payments, distributors like Ingram Micro, Tech Data, and SYNNEX, as well as hardware vendors like HP Inc., are rapidly introducing as-a-service offerings. Bystrak, a former executive in Ingram’s cloud business unit who joined D&H early this year, says the distributor’s revamped marketplace is a key part of its similar effort to help resellers embrace the XaaS business model.

“I think we’d all agree that end clients are asking to consume more technology in an as-a-service model,” he says. “Some partners that are, I think, more ahead of the curve completely recognize this and are probably doing some things, but we see that they may be struggling with building the right products, handling the refresh cycles, [and] handling the financing. So our programs really help those partners succeed. At the same time, we’re also trying to educate and drive other partners to adopt the model because we believe that’s what their clients are asking for whether they know it or not.”

D&H is currently migrating users of its legacy cloud platform onto the new one, and expects to complete that process by June 23rd. Newcomers to the platform can open accounts immediately.

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