Data Migration Provider WANdisco Adopts All-Channel Strategy and Launches First Partner Program

Distributed computing and data replication technology developer WANdisco moves to an all-channel sales model and launches its first partner program, the LiveData Partner Network, the company will announce Thursday.

The move comes as WANdisco and its solution provider partners see significant opportunities to commercialize the company’s software for migrating massive data stores based on Hadoop and other legacy technologies to the cloud – a potential market that WANdisco is valued at over $ 1.7 billion.

“We see this as an important area of ​​growth,” said Alan Grogan, executive manager of data platform modernization at Avanade Europe, who recently started working with WANdisco and its software.

[Related: The Big Data 100 2020]

“Hadoop fails to meet most of the initial expectations. WANdisco is an acceleration technology that we see useful in helping customers who are currently struggling with Hadoop, or who are not seeing value from it, move the workloads they spend billions on, ”said Grogan in an interview with CRN.

WANdisco’s LiveData Cloud Services platform, including LiveData Migrator, provides data replication and migration capabilities that automate the process of moving huge volumes of data – hundreds of terabytes and even several petabytes – from systems to site to cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, as well as between cloud platforms within multi-cloud environments.

After its release in 2006, Hadoop was widely touted as the solution for handling massive volumes of data. More recently, businesses and organizations have implemented Hadoop to create data lakes, stores of huge volumes of unorganized data.

But Hadoop fell short of many of its initial expectations. The technology is complex and its management requires a team of skilled professionals, said Grogan. Technology does not scale easily, and it is difficult to extract data from Hadoop-based systems for business analysis and other tasks.

“It doesn’t really have the elasticity to meet today’s organizational demands – that the cloud offers,” the Avanade manager said. “Your understanding time [using data for analytics] is heavily hampered by Hadoop.

He said customers move Hadoop File System (HDFS) data and analytical workloads to the Azure cloud, often to use Microsoft’s Synapse analytics service and Databricks unified data analytics platform. “Customers are looking for a lot more operational excellence,” he said.

Tarun Agarwal, director of data and AI and head of practices at Motifworks, a cloud solutions provider who has been working with WANdisco for about six months, tells a similar story. Motifworks is focused on helping businesses and organizations with their digital transformation initiatives and the Towson, Md. Based solutions provider offers WANdisco software as part of its AzureSmart package of software and services used for migrate applications, workloads, and data to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

“Data plays a very important role in digital transformation,” Agarwal said in an interview with CRN. And having that data in on-premises Hadoop systems hampers digital transformation projects, he said.

“We are looking to migrate our customers from on-premises Hadoop platforms to cloud native services,” he said. Noting that these systems often have “several hundred terabytes or even several petabytes of data,” he added, “Migrating this data to the cloud is a huge task. “

Such projects typically require a lot of custom script development, Agarwal said. The value proposition of WANdisco’s software is that it automates data migration, freeing solution provider developers for higher value-added tasks. “This gives us the technology to migrate Hadoop data to the Azure cloud platform with no downtime, no data loss, and no maintenance once you set it up,” he said.

Grogan said that Seattle-headquartered Avanade hears at least one or two major customers every month ask him questions about migrating Hadoop-based systems. They include leading banks, financial service providers and consumer goods companies. The company, for example, is currently working with a leading European insurance company to abandon a system that includes Hadoop and an on-premises data warehouse.

So why move to a partner-centric strategy for WANdisco? “Migration of data lakes is a complex problem to solve,” said Peter Scott, senior vice president of business development for WANdisco, which oversees the channel initiative, in an interview with CRN.

While WANdisco specifically provides services around data migration, cloud migration projects, which are often part of larger digital transformation initiatives, also involve moving applications and workloads that use data.

“This is where the expertise of systems integrators, whether global or regional, and cloud service providers comes in,” said Scott.

Until recently, about 90 percent of WANdisco’s sales were direct, with the remainder going through OEMs like IBM. The company has recruited partners in recent months, particularly systems integrators and strategic service providers, and has increased sales through ISVs, VARs, solution providers, global and regional system integrators, corporations consulting and cloud service providers. The company eventually expects to have a list of partners numbering in the tens.

Scott said about 50 percent of sales today are led and sourced by partners. “And the goal over the next two or three years is to get it as close as possible to 100%,” he said. In a few cases, customers may continue to purchase company software directly through cloud companies’ online marketplaces without further intervention from a partner.

On Thursday, WANdisco, which has two headquarters in Sheffield, UK, and San Ramon, Calif., Will launch the LiveData Partner Network, the company’s first partner program. The three-tiered program will offer a range of sales, marketing, training, certification and support resources, all accessible through a new partner portal.

The levels include registered partners for new partners, solution partners who develop solutions around WANdisco tools and “commit to doing important business with the company,” the company said in Thursday’s announcement provided. in advance to CRN. Leading strategic partners will have “a very high degree of business synergy with WANdisco and will have a significant presence in multiple geographies.”

The training offered will include instructor-led, on-site, self-paced training, including technical and sales training around WANdisco products. The program also provides market development funds and other go-to-market / demand generation resources, business planning assistance, and sales support services.

Scott acknowledges that in the past there has been “competition” between WANdisco sales representatives and channel partners. He said the company’s sales force has been repositioned to work with the channel, working primarily as partner managers or “partner coaches,” with compensation designed to encourage cooperation and avoid conflict between channels. .

Channel partners are excited about the program. Grogan said that Avanade has been invited to participate at the strategic partner level and that the company looks forward to “quick start initiatives” across the program to help customers accelerate data migration projects. The executive said that Avanade is also developing links between WANdisco technical support and its own Azure Data Modernization Center of Excellence.

Motifworks’ Agarwal looks forward to taking advantage of the program’s joint marketing and co-branding opportunities and additional technical training and documentation resources. “This will be a key partnership for our marketing efforts and for our customers,” he said.

“We envision the WANdisco LiveData partner network as the primary growth driver for the business in 2021, allowing us to rapidly expand and expand our business globally,” said Scott of WANdisco.

Sean N. Ayres