Strategic partner programs have been around the tech industry for decades, and typically involve regional-specific or industry-focused resellers and specialist firms with close ties to their business clients. The results can be good for all involved, providing end customers valuable services and solutions, and building sustainable commercial relationships for both IT vendors and their partners.
The evolution of public cloud computing is delivering new options and opportunities for partner programs, especially among IT vendors that are managing their own cloud platforms and services. IBM Cloud has been especially active in this regard, so it’s worth considering how the company’s service offerings are being leveraged by strategic partners and their customers. Here is how one IBM Cloud partner, SimpleCloud, is making the relationship work.
SimpleCloud and IBM Cloud
SimpleCloud is owned and operated by Summus Render, a Madrid-based company that provides Render-as-a-Service (RaaS) solutions to digital animators and studios, engineering and design firms and universities via its Data Processing Center (CPD) infrastructure. The company’s solutions include dedicated render farms, supervised render (for specialized applications) and low-cost render services for Maya and 3DS Max.
SimpleCloud is designed to deliver workstation-class virtual desktop solutions that can be easily and securely accessed from any location on any device, including desktops, laptops, tablets, smart phones and thin clients. SimpleCloud is hosted by IBM Cloud on IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers and also utilizes VMware Workstation for endpoint management and IBM Aspera for high-speed file and data sharing.
IBM and SimpleCloud are ideal partners for technical, economic and professional reasons. IBM Cloud operates more than 60 data centers worldwide, offering virtually unlimited global reach. Additionally, IBM Cloud enables SimpleCloud services to be flexibly configured, easily deployed and quickly scaled up or down to meet its customers’ requirements. Finally, IBM is well-known and respected globally, across many companies, industries and professions, including SimpleCloud’s clients and prospects.
Three quite different SimpleCloud customers highlight how the company is leveraging its partnership with IBM Cloud:
- butic (lowercase "b") offers classes in architecture, engineering, construction and technology to students in Spain and Latin America. These courses of study typically require access to high-performance workstations, creating an insurmountable barrier for many potential students. SimpleCloud provides butic with IBM Cloud-based workstation environments that students can access with thin-client devices they are provided as part of their tuition. butic has developed learning profiles with pre-built virtual hardware configurations and software licenses, enabling the school to deliver and manage solutions tailored for the specific needs of specific students. Choosing SimpleCloud and IBM Cloud also enabled butic to avoid substantial upfront capital investments in IT and onsite support and align its technology and licensing costs with what students are actually using. The SimpleCloud model will also allow butic to effectively expand to meet demand for its courses as enrollment grows.
- ESDIP Animation Studio produces animated films for the ESDIP School of Art in Madrid. The studio was working on a short film—Blue and Malone: Impossible Cases—that featured complex, graphics-intensive 3D animation, requiring additional computing power and graphic artists. To achieve its goals, the studio needed to coordinate the participation of nearly 200 artists from around the world and provide them the tools required to complete the project. ESDIP employed SimpleCloud to create a virtual studio environment, including virtual workstations with virtual GPUs and IBM Aspera to share and transfer often massive video files. IBM Cloud’s extensive network of global data centers ensured that artists had access to nearby servers, thus supporting zero-latency creation processes. SimpleCloud can deploy an IBM Cloud-based pre-provisioned graphics workstation in less than an hour, and ramp-up CPU/GPU power on-demand. By engaging with SimpleCloud, ESDIP converted itself from a small animation studio to a partially virtual studio capable of taking on and completing large and ambitious projects.
- Elecnor S.A. was founded nearly six decades ago and is a global leader in infrastructure, construction and development in power generation, telecommunications, rail and new technology sectors. As such, it needs to provide detailed digital building plans to managers and workers wherever they are—in offices or on often remote building sites. Elecnor met with SimpleCloud to investigate its solution for Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Manufacturing (AECM) which supports robust global digital content management and creation. After a demonstration and pilot test, Elecnor decided that SimpleCloud AECM was exactly the solution it needed to deliver complex building plans to anywhere and any device. Interestingly, the timing of Elecnor’s pilot coincided with the first reports of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, adopting the SimpleCloud solution also enabled Elecnor to quickly and efficiently adapt to the pandemic, and support remote working employees throughout the company.
SimpleCloud’s work with butic, ESDIP Animation Studio and Elecnor S.A. are good examples of how a company can leverage its expertise and experience in specific areas to enhance distinctly different business and workplace requirements. Those solutions offer clear technical value—providing companies access to the compute, graphics, storage, and management solutions they require. Plus, SimpleCloud’s customers also enjoy more flexible and predictable OPEX financing terms rather than the capital-intensive requirements of buying, managing, and maintaining physical workstations.
These engagements also show how a relationship with a strong and innovative partner, like IBM Cloud, can expand and extend those benefits even further. IBM Cloud’s capabilities, including quickly configuring and deploying hundreds or thousands of VMware Workstation and other virtual desktops, swiftly and securely sharing files of virtually any size and supporting workers across the globe, including those requiring zero-latency applications clearly help SimpleCloud enhance and differentiate its solutions for a variety of clients and business needs.
That is a lesson that other technology companies considering strategic partnerships would do well to consider.
Charles King is a principal analyst at PUND-IT and a regular contributor to eWEEK. © 2019 Pund-IT, Inc. All rights reserved.