Rubrik, NetApp extend partnership with Go-to-Market relationship

The Rubrik Go Foundation Edition, and Rubrik Go Business Edition SKUs will appear on NetApp price lists starting May 17, providing multiple benefits to the companies’ field sales forces and joint channel partners.

Wendy Bahr, Rubrik’s Chief Commercial Office

Data management vendor Rubrik and NetApp have significantly expanded their strategic partnership. While the companies have been relatively recent integration partners, requests from their field sales forces has led them to extend the relationship to a co-sell motion, where select Rubrik offerings will appear on the NetApp price list beginning on May 17. Rubrik’s intent going forward is to expand the number of SKUs that it sells through NetApp.

Wendy Bahr, Rubrik’s Chief Commercial Officer, said that when she first came to Rubrik in April 2019, not only did Rubrik and NetApp not have a relationship, but NetApp viewed Rubrik as a competitor.

“When I arrived at Rubrik a couple of years ago and assessed the landscape, I found that because we had a competitor who sold storage, NetApp lumped us in as a competitor too,” she said. “But we did not sell storage, So we had to eliminate confusion in the field about us being friend or foe. We had to make it clear that we were complementary.”

As Chief Commercial Officer at Rubrik, Bahr has basically the same responsibilities as she did as Channel Chief at Cisco, although the titles are different.

“At Rubrik, the Chief Revenue Officer has responsibility for the direct sales organization responsibility,” Bahr indicated. “I have responsibility for every indirect route to market – channel, distribution, alliances, GSIs, MSPs and inside sales and renewals – everything that is outside the direct. It’s a similar role to what I had at Cisco, but there I was called the channel chief.”

Bahr said that once the initial confusion over the companies’ competitive status was removed, this led to multiple Rubrik integrations with NetApp ONTAP, StorageGRID and SnapDrive.

“Once we had that last integration in place, we had some really compelling value integrations, including the ability to do granular searches,” she indicated. “Culturally, we also were a tremendous fit. Both of our CEOs understood the channel is a huge benefit. We also realized that we had a common set of partners. We found that our partners have invested heavily in NetApp. In our analysis, we estimate that 70% of our partners have a NetApp practice, which is significant.”

Bahr said that the decision to expand the relationship to let NetApp resellers sell Rubrik on NetApp paper was driven by both companies’ field sales forces.

“This was a field-driven decision,” she stated. “Everyone in the field said that we are better together, and that we needed to figure out how to formalize the relationship.”

Bahr said that being sold on NetApp paper on their global price list is of enormous significance to Rubrik.

“It’s hugely important and incredibly strategic,” she stated. “We are a fairly young company, seven years old. We would have to establish those relationships with procurement from a standstill. It also goes back to mutual value exchange. We have complementary solutions that solve customer problems. Customers told our field teams that they want flexibility, agility and hybrid, and together with NetApp, we provide all of those things. That mutual value exchange in partnerships has to be strong for them to work.”

Likewise, Bahr said that extension of the partnership will provide multiple benefits to the two companies’ joint partner base.

“The partners benefit because the programmatic benefits will occur on both sides of the fence for volume and MDF and things of that nature,” she indicated. “It also gives them a stronger message for their customers, adding things like our immutable ransomware protection to NetApp. We are better together.”

The joint sales motion is limited at the outset in the SKUs it covers.

“It is select to start,” Bahr said. “On May 17, we will have our initial offering around Rubrik Go Foundation Edition, and Rubrik Go Business Edition, which include our Radar and Sonar products and the hardware necessary to support them. Our intention is to grow those SKUs as the relationship progresses.”

This is the first sales-focused partnership agreement with a storage vendor for Rubrik. Like many vendors, they have marketplace agreements with the large cloud hyperscalers.

“This is our first such relationship with a storage vendor though,” Bahr said. “We have done technical integrations with Nutanix and Pure and Cloudian and others, but this Go-to-Market aspect is unique.”

That does not necessarily preclude similar agreements going forward with other storage providers, however.

“We are always open to things which are good for customers and partners, so I wouldn’t rule that out,” Bahr said. “But the mutual value exchange has to be compelling. If you don’t win the hearts and minds of the field sellers, it won’t translate to the bottom line. We have that with NetApp, and that makes it easier for our partners as well.”