GitLab expands partnership with IBM to IBM Cloud Pak

GitLab has worked with IBM previously around IBMs mainframes and component parts of the IBM business like Red Hat and OpenShift, but the new partnership, with a strong Go-to-Market led by IBM, will be much more comprehensive.

Michelle Hodges, GitLab’s Vice-President of Global Channels

Today, DevOps lifecycle platform provider GitLab is announcing the expansion of their strategic alliance with IBM that expands GitLab into the IBM cloud with GitLab Ultimate for IBM Cloud Paks.

GitLab, which defines itself as very different from other companies in their space in that they are broader, covering all 10 stages of the DevOps lifecycle, see this expanded partnership as a critically important one.

“IBM and GitLab have the same strategic goal of helping customers with their DevOps journey and DevOps automation,” said Vick Kelkar, GitLab’s Director of Alliances. With IBM Cloud Paks, IBM is trying to help customers do hybrid cloud and multi-cloud with a multi-cloud platform that can run on any cloud, not just IBM. That’s the core tenet of Cloud Paks, that it runs across hyperscalers.”

Half a dozen Cloud Paks have been published so far, covering specific areas like Applications, Automation, Integration, Data, Multi Cloud Management, and Security. GitLab will now work with all of these.

“GitLab Ultimate for IBM Cloud Pak will help IBM customers, with cloud native development, as well as the Z mainframe business, which a lot of our mutual customers use today,” Kelkar said.

This new announcement expands GitLab’s partnership with IBM around that IBM Z mainframe server business, as well as with Red Hat and OpenShift, with which GitLab has already been working.

“This new partnership lets us bring all these independent efforts under a single umbrella,” Kelkar said. “We think IBM is particularly strong in areas like service virtualization and scalable governance, so it’s a very nice fit for us which is very well aligned with our position around DevOps. It will help customers achieve DevOps faster.”

An extensive joint Go-to-Market strategy is planned around this, with IBM taking the lead and GitLab assisting. IBM will also provide the support.

Vick Kelkar, GitLab’s Director of Alliances

“IBM has a very extensive portfolio of products, and we are looking at IBM to determine how this will be positioned,” Kelkar said. “They will take the lead and we will support them at every turn. We are already working on joint demos.”  Training and enablement support for partners has also been laid out.

GitLab has a relatively limited number of strategic vendor partners in this category.

“We have a handful of strategic partners, which include the big hyperscalers like AWS, Google Cloud, Azure and IBM, and that is a principal focus for us,” said Michelle Hodges, GitLab’s Vice-President of Global Channels. “We also have a handful of other key strategic partners like HashiCorp.”

Hodges said that the expanded IBM partnership will also be critical for the value-added channel that she has been building out since she joined GitLab a year ago.

“Over the last four years, we have seen phenomenal growth, which we report as 150x, with hundreds of thousands of core users around the planet,” she noted. “We were able to do that initially direct or with a Web store presence, but we can’t keep doing that on our own, especially with customers jumping in all over these ten separate stages. So they asked me to come on board to build the channel. We had only an international fulfilment channel before that. Since then, we have onboarded about 300 SIs, VARs and consultants.”

About 50 of these are Select partners, the top tier of the two in the GitLab partner program. The remainder are Open partners, whose status allows them to transact with GitLab.

“IBM is an important vendor, and we have about 30 IBM partners in our channel today, from large ones like WWT down to DevOps specific partners like Zivra,” Hodges said. “They can all benefit from the Go-to-Market relationship around this, and we expect they will be very interested in the marketing investment aspect. We are looking to work with the entire ecosystem around this.”

GitLab’s presence in the Canadian market is still relatively small, with a handful of sellers, and a handful of partners. They have, however, been adding both sellers and Channel Account Managers.