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HP Launches Cloud Partner Program

Now that it has a cloud strategy that it launched in January, Hewlett-Packard Co. wants its partners to start selling its solutions. The company this week launched the CloudSystem Partner Program, which aims to enable solution providers to build cloud computing expertise.

Kicked off at the HP Americas Partner Conference in Las Vegas, the new CloudSystem Partner program is very much focused on helping partners sell HP's CloudSystem portfolio, which consists of the company's Cloud Service Automation software, Cloud Maps configuration templates and its related BladeSystem Matrix hardware.

The program emphasizes helping partners sell internal private cloud solutions to customers, said Frank Rauch, VP of channel sales for HP's enterprise servers, storage and networking business. "That's where we're seeing a lot of the activity," Rauch said.

To that end, HP has launched its Cloud Enablement Program, which offers training, certification and financial incentives including leasing options for acquiring HP's "Converged Infrastructure" of servers, networking and storage solutions, along with the CloudSystem software portfolio, Rauch explained.

"We're seeing a number of partners who want to build out their own cloud offerings," he said. "Whether it's public, hybrid or whatever, we've put together a set of programs that utilize market development funds, hardware incentives, financing, engineering help, to be able to help them build out their own clouds."

HP will allow partners to sell its new Cloud Discovery Workshop, a service by which HP consultants meet with a customer to assess requirements and develop a cloud strategy. Right now, partners can sell the Cloud Discovery Workshop and sit in on the sessions, but they can't deliver the services. Over time, that will change, Rauch said.

"We want to be able to make it scale out," Rauch said. "So we want to make it as pervasive or ubiquitous as we can, and the way to do that truly is through letting the partners to be able to deliver it, because then you enable scale that we don't have right now."

HP also said it is extending the number of Cloud Centers of Excellence, which are demonstration locations set up by partners who have already invested in the CloudSystem portfolio. With 20 now up and running in the United States, Rauch said 18 more are on the way. Among those that have set up these demo centers are AdvizeX Technologies, Forsythe Technology and Presidio Networked Solutions. GTSI, Melillo Consulting, Nth Generation Computing and Works Computing are slated to open new demo centers.

Rauch admits that some of HP's largest partners are hosting the demo centers now but over time he sees solution providers serving SMBs coming on board. "It's a substantial bet on their part," he said. "I don't know how many will be able to participate but believe me, it's not just open to large partners. We have a number of SMB VARs that are extremely interested in this right now. To be honest with you, we're starting out with some of the big names, but we think it will scale over time."

Still, questions remain. For example, what about that public cloud service CEO Leo Apotheker announced earlier this month? "That's to be determined," Rauch said. "I can tell you though, there's extremely strong commitment from the top down, to be able to channelize what we do."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/31/2011 at 1:14 PM


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