Expanded HPE partnership makes Cohesity an OEM partner and greatly expands go-to-market motion

Long-time HPE partner Cohesity expects to see major go-to-market gains from the expanded relationship, which makes HPE more likely to position Cohesity aggressively in takeaway deals, and further encourages HPE salespeople to sell Cohesity.

Rob Salmon, Cohesity’s President and Chief Operating Officer

MADRID – Hyperconverged secondary storage vendor Cohesity has announced a significant expansion of their long-standing relationship with Hewlett Packard Enterprise [HPE]. It expands their relationship to original equipment manufacturer [OEM] status with HPE. As before, HPE and Cohesity will offer a jointly validated solution on certified HPE servers to customers although this will be a new solution reflecting the companies’ newest technologies. The OEM relationship greatly increases HPE’s skin in the game, however, and makes more and larger Cohesity sales through HPE extremely likely.

Cohesity has been closely linked to HPE from its inception. HPE is an investor in the company, and Cohesity has been a member of the HPE Complete program to take validated solutions from vendors in the program to market. However, OEM status marks a major uptick in status, said Rob Salmon, Cohesity’s President and Chief Operating Officer.

“We had qualified on HPE Apollo and on a subset of their ProLiant server series,” but it was effectively a ‘meet in the channel’ partnership,” Salmon indicated. “We were on their price list, but there was not a lot of activity stemming from that specifically. The HPE relationship has been very valuable for us, and has generated a fair amount of interest and adoption, including some of the largest financial services companies in the world.” Cohesity thought that the go-to-market relationship couls be expanded, however.

Salmon said that Cohesity began discussions with Milan Shetti, General Manager of HPE’s Storage division, and Patrick Osborne, VP and GM of Big Data and Secondary Storage at HPE, shortly after Shetti was promoted to his position last December.

“We raised a ‘what if’ scenario about expanding the partnership,” Salmon commented. “Doing an OEM deal is a far tighter integration than being on their price list, because it carries things like Level One and Level Two support from HPE worldwide. It’s a tighter integration with a frictionless sales motion. Having an OEM SKU that customers can buy from HPE, and partners can order from HPE, will help a whole lot. It gives us reach around the globe that looks very different for a company of our size.”

“This makes us a main line quote in the HPE Storage business unit, and with a revenue target specifically attached to that,” said Sanjeev Desai, Senior Director, Solutions Marketing, at Cohesity. “Salespeople are compensated for selling us. They can now offer us from software, hardware, and services on a single purchase order. This puts more skin in the game on HPE’s side, and gives them more incentive to make this successful.”

Salmon said he had seen tangible evidence of this in the scant few hours since the new relationship was announced.

“One prospect I talked with at this event asked me ‘how can you possibly help us around the globe?’ This is how – through HPE partners and HPE support. It’s a critical advantage in dealing with large enterprises with a global presence. Already today, just since the announcement this morning, we have seen momentum on this.”

Salmon said that some of the announcements HPE is making at Discover, in particular the extension of HPE InfoSight from storage across the full stack of compute and virtual machines, further enhances Cohesity’s value to HPE.

“Our value is strictly in what we do in software,” he indicated. “We can add more value through the new things they are doing with InfoSight. HPE gets a next generation solution. We get a far greater go-to-market reach, and also tighter integration in terms of how they bring some of their innovations to market.”

Salmon said that Cohesity’s ‘swimlane’ – where HPE positions it to customers – is unlikely to change as a result of the stepped-up agreement, but that HPE is likely to be more aggressive in selling it.

“I believe you will see a concerned effort to have us talked about as part of the portfolio,” he stated. “They will emphasize our ability to displace legacy vendors like Dell EMC Data Domain. We expect they will be able to be more aggressive on takeaways.”

Salmon, who spent over two decades at NetApp, came out of retirement a year ago to join Cohesity in his present senior role, said that the company’s performance since then has exceeded the high expectations which brought him there.

“I joined after talking to [CEO] Mohit [Aron] about his vision,” he said. “A year into the story, it is so much more than what we talked about even, at that time. The pace of innovation and how rapidly the innovation team can bring this to market has been amazing. The logos brought in have not just been quantitative, but qualitative as well. I had expectations, but the performance has exceeded those, Partnerships like HPE, AWS and Azure have been critical. We have a tremendous opportunity and we are still in the early days. The last year has gone by quickly, but it has been a fun ride.”

The new joint solution will roll out through HPE and its channel partners for all customers worldwide in Spring 2019. Cohesity software will continue to be available through the HPE Complete program.