HP Launches Partner Program for Private Clouds

Having launched its cloud strategy in January, Hewlett-Packard Co. now wants its partners to start selling its solutions. The company announced its CloudSystem Partner Program, which is designed to let solution providers build cloud computing expertise, this week at the HP Americas Partner Conference in Las Vegas.

The main focus of the CloudSystem Partner program is helping partners sell HP's CloudSystem portfolio, which includes the company's Cloud Service Automation software, Cloud Maps configuration templates and its related BladeSystem Matrix hardware.

According to Frank Rauch, VP of channel sales for HP's enterprise servers, storage and networking business, the program emphasizes helping partners sell internal private cloud solutions to customers. "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 [and] 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 in which HP consultants meet with customers to assess requirements and develop cloud strategies. Right now, partners can sell the Cloud Discovery Workshop and sit in on the sessions, but they can't deliver the services. That will change over time, 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 expanding the number of Cloud Centers of Excellence, which are demonstration locations set up by partners who have already invested in the CloudSystem portfolio. There are currently 20 centers running in the United States, and Rauch said 18 more are on the way. Among those that have set up these 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 while some of HP's largest partners are hosting the demo centers now, 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."

Questions remain concerning HP's overall cloud strategy. For example, what about the public cloud service that HP 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."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.