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HP Extends Cloud Enablement for Partners

A lot has changed at Hewlett-Packard over the past year but one thing that hasn't is the company's desire to be a major player in cloud computing. And HP is looking for help from its partners.

As thousands of partners converge in Las Vegas this week for the HP Global Partner Conference (GPC) 2012, they will see a very different company than they did at last year's HP Americas Partner Conference. The company has a new CEO, Meg Whitman (actually it had a new CEO last year, too, but we know how that worked out), and will likely give little attention to last year's conference star, webOS, which the previous chief, Leo Apotheker, positioned as a pillar of its cloud strategy.

But HP also used last year's conference to start enabling partners to offer the company's emerging cloud portfolio by kicking off its CloudSystem Partner Program, which included the Cloud Enablement Program. That program offers training, certification, financial incentives and leasing options to help partners sell HP's "Converged Infrastructure" of servers, networking and storage infrastructure, as well as HP's CloudSystem cloud software.

Fast-forward almost one year and HP partners are learning that the company is now making cloud-enablement a core specialization in its flagship PartnerOne channel program as well as adding new offerings to its ServiceOne portfolio. "HP is going to be growing the cloud marketplace, helping partners grow cloud and services," said Mike Galane, HP's senior director of worldwide channel marketing strategy and planning for the company's Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking business, in an interview.

Based on its own internal research, HP estimates cloud computing will be a $143 billion business next year. Galane outlined three new offerings all aimed at helping partners transition themselves and their customers to the cloud. They include:

  • HP Cloud Builder Specialist: This is the new HP PartnerOne designation for partners that have gained expertise in the company's cloud offerings, including HP CloudSystem, its platform for building and managing hybrid clouds. The new Cloud Builder Specialist designation offers training and access to HP's Cloud Centers of Excellence, announced last year. At the time there were fewer than 20; now there are over 100, Galane said.

  • HP Interchange: HP Interchange is a social network aimed at getting partners to collaborate with other partners that may be able to jointly bring a complete cloud solution to customers. "Many of our conventional partners know a lot about putting more traditional solutions together but may run into areas like security where they may have challenges, or managing a cloud environment where they want to work with some more software-savvy-type partners," Galane said. "HP Interchange is a way for them to meet, work with partners, and we will make some announcements about financial incentives to them. It's more than just a place to meet there will be financial advantages for partners who participate with those that are supported in HP Interchange."

  • CloudAgile expansion:  HP is now letting its channel partners join the HP CloudAgile program as service providers. This will allow partners to resell their services, Galane explained. In addition, the company will up the ante in financial incentives for service providers.

HP is also announcing at GPC 2012 that its ServiceOne program will allow partners to sell their own branded storage services, combined with HP's branded services offerings. HP announced ServiceOne in July and rolled it out in November. ServiceOne is a program that allows partners for the first time to sell many of the HP-branded services that were once only offered by its own services organization.

"We are completely enabling the partners with our entire technology services portfolio," said Ken Archer, VP of Americas channels and alliances for HP's Technology Services and Enterprise Business, in an interview. The new element to HP ServiceOne allows partners to sell their own branded services backed by HP. "We are enhancing the ability for partners to have a storage focus instead of a services focus," Archer said.

The partner-branded services HP is encouraging emphasizes backup and recovery, storage efficiency and modernization services. I asked Archer why the emphasis on storage and he explained it is just the first of various partner-branded services HP is offering. Look for others to come based on platforms and networking.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on February 13, 2012