HP turns to disties to build Helion Network channel

Steve Dietch, give president of cloud go-to-market at HP.

Steve Dietch, give president of cloud go-to-market at HP.

At its recent HP Discover event, HP rolled out what it describes as a community rather than a program for its newly-announce Helion OpenStack-based cloud platform. The company described the Helion Network as a community that will build apps on, connect to, and resell hybrid cloud products and services, including cloud service providers, ISVs, developers, solution providers, and system integrators.

Steve Dietch, vice president of cloud go-to-market at HP, said the Helion Network will not be an HP partner, but rather a “member-governed community” which will drive the initiative and set the rules. Dietch likened the community to a UN Security Council – a body that has some permanent members, and some rotating members.

“The network will be managed, instructed, governed and evolved by a network of members, of which HP will be one,” he said. “Everyone gets a voice.”

That community-first approach is one of the primary differences Dietch sees for the Helion approach as opposed to rival Cisco’s Intercloud cloud-to-cloud strategy. HP is positioning Helion as a more open alternative, one that requires members to commit to only a software stack and pledges some degree of hardware agnosticism.

“You don’t have to buy HP hardware to be in the network,” Dietch said.

For solution providers, HP describes a two-phase implementation of the Helion Network. In the first phase, set to launch this fall, HP and initial partners, largely service providers, will work on “implementation of the standardized platform” and then going to market. Service providers in the Helion Network will be able to market products or service through the HP direct sales force (all Enterprise Group salespeople will have quotas specifically related to Helion Network member services, Dietch said), through one-on-one relationships with solution providers, or through the channel via distribution. Dietch said that latter route to market will be key in building up the Helion Network, and HP and its partners will initially depend on distribution to produce consumable solutions out of the building blocks provided by members.

“We’re looking for distributors to provide the means to make all of those Helion Network members into something that is easily consumable for the HP channel,” Dietch said.

In the second phase, slated for some point in 2015, the Helion Network will open up into a broader marketplace, where distributors and resellers can find services and bring them to market.

“Ultimately, they will be able to take the whole portfolio and white label or sell under the Helion brand,” Dietch said. “We’re going to help them aggregate that and integrate it into a nice little consumption model.”

Initial partners on board for the Helion Network include telecom giants AT&T, British Telecom, and Hong Kong Telecom, as well as Intel and some 130-plus HP CloudAgile partner program members.

Mike Strohl, CEO of Concord, Calif.-based Entisys Solutions said that getting on board with Helion Network helps solution provider organizations, like his own, as they seek to shape the cloud journeys of their clients. He said the global footprint of the project can prove a game changer for solution providers.

“It takes us from being a local or regional consultant to being a global consultant,” Strohl said.