ZeroStack targets regional strategic partners with first global partner program

The program is designed to support a select channel deliver an ‘OpenStack Cloud-in-a-Box’ that is simple both for customers to use and partners to sell and install.


Sean Cardenas, VP of Sales and Operations at ZeroStack

Mountain View CA-based ZeroStack, which brought its ZeroStack Cloud Platform for the simple installation and operation of a scale-out private cloud to general availability earlier this year, has now launched a global Partner Program to help its partners sell it.

The ZeroStack Cloud Platform is based on OpenStack. Its most distinctive feature is putting management and infrastructure functionality on-prem, while but the operations and user workflows are in the cloud. The cloud model is delivered through hyper-converged ZeroStack Cloud Building Blocks that integrate compute, clustered storage, software-defined networking and management software in a control plane. This on-premises infrastructure is consumed and managed by the ZeroStack Cloud Portal, which provides analytics-based insights and optimizations for application deployment.

“Whether or not we really emphasize the OpenStack depends on who we are talking to,” said Sean Cardenas, VP of Sales and Operations at ZeroStack. “OpenStack is really attractive to the technology crowd looking for open solutions, but there are plenty of people who just want to see a solution that works and solves their problems, and there we don’t emphasize the OpenStack aspect of it.”

OpenStack’s go-to-market model is to sell entirely through channel partners. Cardenas indicated, however, that the strategy is to recruit and support key regional strategic partners, as opposed to just signing up a lot of guys.

“One of the things I’m most excited about is our deliberate-focused approach targeting what we consider to be the right type of partner for us,” he said.

Cardenas said that his background was mainly with storage companies when they were new, like NetApp, Data Domain and Nutanix.

“My background there has always been that channel is always interested to hear about us, but that they are worried about getting in too early. With this, the channel has said they are interested now, that OpenStack is something that is close to enterprise ready, but is difficult to deploy and even more difficult to manage.”

Half a dozen partners have signed up, with about 15 more in the pipeline.

Cardenas stated that ZeroStack is also easy for partners to deploy.

“More often than not, masking complexity for the end user has a heavy burden for the partners,” he said. “ZeroStack is not this at all. We refer to it as Zero Touch. “It’s extremely easy to deploy within 30 minutes, as we advertise. Partners don’t necessarily have OpenStack expertise either. They know its value proposition, but most don’t have OpenStack SMEs. With this, they can literally point in the IP addresses and generate a private cloud. That’s a phenomenal win for them.”

It’s also fairly simple for partner sales engineers to learn how to sell. Typically with startups, the partner makes the introduction but vendor does the heavy lifting on the sales and install, but Cardenas said that’s much less the case here.

“There will be some of that, but not necessarily in the adoption of the technology, but in the messaging of ‘OpenStack-cloud-in-a-Box’ and explaining that it’s not a traditional legacy private cloud. A single install can generally train a sales engineer team.”

Cardenas said that while their program has the meat and potatoes benefits partners expect from such programs, the big message is in their partner philosophy.

“What’s really unique is we aren’t interested in signing up every reseller,” he said. “We want PARTNERS who truly understand the value of the solution. We are working closely with partners to protect margins, putting and putting money into our POC program, which has been received very well by partners.”