HP to open public cloud up to partners

Dan Baigent, senior director of business development for HP Cloud

Dan Baigent, senior director of business development for HP Cloud

Under new programs introduced at its recent Global Partner Conference, HP is opening its public cloud services up to its channel partners – first to VARs who want to refer customers to HP cloud services, and eventually to partners who want to resell the cloud offerings.

First out of the chutes is a referral program, whereby partners will get 10 per cent of first-year revenues for customers they refer to HP for Public Cloud services, and five per cent of all subsequent years’ sales. That will be followed later this year by a resale program that will allow partners to retain control of customer billing and eventually user provisioning as well.

Dan Baigent, senior director of business development for HP Cloud, said that by going through partners, the company hopes to increase traction for its public cloud offerings in the SMB market. And likewise, he said, offering HP Cloud services helps partners round out their cloud plans.

“All partners need to have a cloud strategy, and if they have a cloud strategy that doesn’t encompass all of their customers’ possible use cases, they’re going to miss that part of the market. You need to be able to go as broad as your customers may demand.”

Baigent stressed that the company is not looking to get the entire width and breadth of the company’s channel representing its public cloud offering, but sees it as a top opportunity for “tech-savvy channel partners and integrators” looking to round out their offerings.

“We’re not going to throw every single reseller into the program,” he said. “They would fail, and we would fail, were we to do that.”

HP is making the services available by opening two new tracks under its Cloud Builder program, which has been traditionally focused on solution providers developing their own or customers’ own cloud offerings through HP’s infrastructure hardware and software. The new programs cover Public Cloud offering for VARs, and for global SIs who are more interested in the consulting services around public cloud infrastructure than the actual referral and resale deals.

HP is not the first to offer resale options for cloud computing and storage offerings – but its position as a hardware and software vendor puts it in an interesting position in making such an offering for the channel, both because it has a massive channel already signed up for its enterprise infrastructure products, and because it can offer partners the tools necessary to build private, hybrid, or public cloud solutions for their customers. It’s that flexibility on which HP is hanging its hat against well-established public cloud players like Amazon and Rackspace.

“We see this falling into a debate between those who want to build and operate clouds, and those who want to consume, and we’re delivering on both options with a focus on choice, confidence and consistency,” he said.

Currently, the company operates its public cloud services out of data centres in the United States (Las Vegas and Virginia), which could be a problem for certain workloads for certain customers from Canada and other nations. Baigent said the company plans to open data centres in Europe and Asia in the near future, making it a truly worldwide public cloud.

The company is not yet to the point of offering white label cloud solutions for partners, but says that there is “an interest” in such an offering from HP. “We’re not there yet, but we’re doing analysis on it,” he said.

Along with access to the SMB market, Baigent said that HP was counting on partners to bring their own bundled solutions marrying HP’s public cloud services with applications and other solution elements to create cohesive packages and bundles for their customers.

HP also introduced new services on top of its core infrastructure (storage and compute) cloud offerings, including cloud load balancing, cloud monitoring, and cloud DNS. All will be available under the new partner programs. Along with the newly announced services, HP has object storage and compute publicly available, and is in various beta stages for block storage and Application Platform-as-a-Service.