Cohesity looks to Revolutionize secondary storage with first channel program

The aim of Cohesity, led by Nutanix’s original co-founder, is to disrupt the secondary storage market the same way Nutanix disrupted primary storage, and through a similar 100 per cent channel model.

Joe Barnes

Joe Barnes, Cohesity’s head of worldwide channel strategy

Santa Clara CA-based Cohesity’s CEO Mohit Aron, who was the co-founder of Nutanix, has been explicit about the company’s goal of doing the same thing for secondary storage that Nutanix did to primary storage — in this case by using its hyperconverged platform to consolidate all secondary storage functionality on a single platform. Cohesity rolled out its first product, Cohesity Data Platform, last October, and recently announced the 2.0 version. Now Cohesity, which sells through a 100 per cent channel model, has announced its first channel program — the Revolution Partner Network. They have also announced their first channel chief, Joe Barnes, who becomes head of worldwide channel strategy,

Barnes who was most recently managed EMC’s western U.S. channels team, has worked for other large storage vendors like NetApp, has been a VAR, as Business Development Director at MicroAge, and has had direct sales roles as well as channel.

“I have never had a public facing role before, but I have 25 years experience working at all sides of the VAR channel, and have  good experience with what it takes to be successful selling through partners,” Barnes told ChannelBuzz.

“Our focus is on larger midmarket customers as well as enterprise,” Barnes added. “The more data the customer has, the more sense this makes. “100 TB of secondary data is where it makes sense for the customer, although we are focused on larger environments, up to multiple petabytes.”

While startups seeking quality channel partners typically have a tough job of convincing to do, Barnes acknowledged that Cohesity has a huge advantage here.

“Mohit’s reputation and the things he has accomplished prior to Cohesity speaks volumes and helps greatly with credibility,” he said. “We also have the advantage of following a couple years after companies like Nutanix and Pure Storage disrupted the primary storage space with hyperconverged solutions. It means the market is somewhat educated about hyperconverged — although not yet on its application to secondary storage. However, it only takes partners and customers ten minutes to understand what this can bring to their business. Secondary storage has been a fragmented space with many tools, and no one else is addressing it as a secondary platform like Cohesity is. The market has a need for a new platform.”

Cohesity now has 30 partners now, up from 20 in October. Most of these are in North America and three of them are in Canada. While they have distribution in Europe, they don’t have any yet in North America and have no immediate plans to do so.

“We are currently exploring that, but we think it’s a little early in our lifecycle,” Barnes said.

The goal, Barnes indicated, is to get to between 100 and 125 in North America.

“Our coverage currently is stronger where we have local presence and resources, and we are expanding our channel as we add sales and engineering resources in the field,” he said. This is particularly the case because Cohesity, like Nutanix before it, is relying on its own people to carry the ball in the early days.

“Introductions and fulfilment is the initial value-add for partners, but we are seeing partners understanding and adopting our solution quickly,” Barnes said. “Partners can get familiar with it in a few weeks, where it used to take months at other places I’ve worked.”

Barnes said that ideal partner profile shows a presence in the enterprise space today, as well as  leading with next-generation type solutions in discussions with those customers. They are typically having success today with hyperconverged in the primary storage space, as well as all-flash arrays.

“As a startup, we are having more success with early adopter-type customers, so ones having success with that partner set are a good fit.”

Barnes said that the Revolution Partner Network has three key focus elements — enablement, acceleration and rewards.

Enablement is all about helping find and qualify new opportunities and how to implement and optimize a solution with additional value-add services. Acceleration is the ability to find new opportunities, and we are seeing close to a third have a very short sales cycle.

“Deals are being found and closed in just a few months, and customers are repurchasing additional nodes in the first 120 days,” he said.

Rewards is just that, providing the partners with rewards that Barnes said would be high.

“We are aiming to provide the highest margins in the storage hardware and software industry,” he said. “We are also offering multiple sales incentives for partner SEs to help us drive demand generation.”