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HPE Expands Channel Partner Program, Doubles Down on SDN
Posted September 13, 2016
HPE Expands Channel Partner Program, Doubles Down on SDN
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By Jef Cozza. Updated September 13, 2016 9:57AM

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) kicked off its Global Partner Conference in Boston yesterday, its first since the company split off from its printer and personal computer division. The event brings together the company’s strategic partners with member of HPE’s senior management, including CEO Meg Whitman, EVP and GM of the enterprise group Antonio Neri, and chief sales officer Peter Ryan.

While partner sales are often major sales channels for enterprise technology companies, that is particularly true for HPE, which generates the vast majority of its sales through strategic partners.

Expanding Flexible Capacity

At the event, HPE announced a number of changes to its existing partner program, including an expansion of its Flexible Capacity program that offers on-premise IT and cloud computing services through a utility sales model that can be scaled up or down depending on the end clients needs.

While channel partners have been able to participate in the Flexible Capacity program since it first launched in 2013, HPE said that it is expanding the program this month to enable certain channel partners to deliver specific installation and reactive hardware repair services.

The expanded program should also offer HPE resellers more ways to participate, according to Don Randall, worldwide marketing manager for technology services at HPE. “Flexible Capacity is really good for our partners,” said Randall. “Especially if they’re moving to be a service provider rather than a reseller only, which is where many are heading. This is a great model for service providers to use, technically and economically.”

Neri, meanwhile, announced that HPE is extending its strategic partnership with Arista Networks to provide secure hybrid IT solutions. The deal expands on the existing HPE Converged Architecture agreement the two companies announced in June 2015 that focused on building application workload reference architectures as part of HPE’s Converged Architecture ecosystem.

Doubling Down on Software-Defined Networking

As a result of the agreement, customers and partners will be able to purchase Arista’s switching products directly from HPE starting in November. HPE presented the partnership as a reaction to growing demand for software-defined networking (SDN) architecture among enterprise datacenters.

Under the deal, Arista will now be HPE’s preferred networking partner in data center networking, and will form part of the core infrastructure for HPE’s software-defined infrastructure solutions going forward.

“Adding Arista to our current HPE FlexFabric and Altoline product lines will expand our ability to address a wider variety of data center networking customer use cases and requirements,” the company said in a statement.

But the news that HPE will be focusing on SDN might seem counterintuitive based on Whitman’s announcement last week that the company will be spinning off its non-core software assets into Micro Focus, a British software company. But Whitman said the decision did not reflect a broader move out of the software market.

“I want to be crystal clear -- HPE is not getting out of software,” Whitman said in a statement. “Software is still a key enabler of our go-forward strategy, but we need the right assets to win in our target markets. Moving forward, we will double down on the software capabilities that power and differentiate our infrastructure solutions and are critical in a cloud environment.” The company will continue to focus on software as it applies to its hybrid IT and infrastructure solutions, she said.

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