Equinix leverages expanding HPE partnership as part of growing channel initiative

The launch of HPE GreenLake in Canada in particular, because it coincided with Equinix’s physical expansion in the purchase of additional Canadian data centres, has been an important factor in Equinix’s growth in Canada.

Jules Johnston, Senior Vice President of Global Channels at Equinix

Colocation provider Equinix has built out the largest network of its type in the world. Until recently, however, this had mainly been done direct. In the last several years, however, their channel business has expanded significantly. Their relationship with HPE, particularly around the GreenLake as-a-service offering, has played a role in this growth. It’s also a role the companies see expanding as both Equinix’s channel and HPE GreenLake mature further.

Equinix has had channel partners and channel organizations for years, but they are now running their first global channel organization.

“We set this up in April last year, and moved me from the America’s channel sales role to manage the global role,” said Jules Johnston, Senior Vice President of Global Channels at Equinix. “We then hired VPs of Partner Sales in all the regional organizations, and pulled people out of the sales organizations to create a  200 person partner program. We then developed rules, tools, and a Go-to-Market playbook developed with each vendor.”

Equinix’s channel focus is relatively recent.

“Channel sales when I started here six years ago were a small percentage of the total,” Johnston stated. “Now its 40%, and there is CEO commitment for partner bookings to be greater than 50% of new bookings by 2025.”

“We previously didn’t have self-service, a quoting tool, a platform where partners could download and embed thought content,” Johnston noted. “We had none of these things that partners associate with high level partner programs, Now we have changed our focus. We used to spend most of our energies on identifying top producers in our regional organizations only, because before the global organization it was hard to identify the top partners.”

In addition, Johnson noted that Equinix is doing types of channel events that are new to them.

“We had our first series of global virtual meetings for partners attended by top execs, with about 30 partners at each of three events in different time zones,” she noted.

Equinix’s relationship with HPE is relatively short in term, and really only began to take off with the rise of GreenLake.

“There have been HPE champions at Equinix for five years, but it has really only been meaningful for three years, and really became compelling for the last two years with GreenLake,” Johnston indicated. It was the pivot to consumption-based that aligned our interests most closely.

Johnston said that GreenLake has made colo access even more critical to HPE’s business.

“Data has to live somewhere,” she said. “With us, it is proximate to the public cloud onramps. We also have dozens of enterprise companies in our funnel who are ready for that, and who are also ready for partners to build services for that   GreenLake portfolio with all those as-a-service partners. Equinix partners can leverage the consumption of any cloud, and allow customers to move a lot faster.”

“We have seen tremendous movement of companies moving out of the data management business, because that’s not their core competency, and into Equinix,” said Keith White, Executive Vice President and General Manager, GreenLake Cloud Services Commercial Business at HPE.

Relationships with HPE and its big OEM competitors like Dell and NetApp have become critical for Equinix.

“We consider companies like HPE and Dell really strategic alliance platform partners,” Johnston said. “We have other large platform providers like Verizon, but we see them more as resellers. Our partnerships with HPE and with Dell overlay with the rest of our partner community – like us, WWT and Dell, or us, Presidio and HPE. We are happy to have deals on any of their paper that. In turn, if they sell to a customer owned data centre, they can sell them some gear, but with us there is GreenLake and many more things that they can sell within our footprint.

Equinix’s rise in their Canadian business and their GreenLake business specifically developed because of a fortunate coincidence between Equinix’s purchase of Bell Canada data centres with the GreenLake launch in Canada.

“Our partnership in Canada grew from acquisition of Bell Canada – at the same time HPE was making their GreenLake plans,” Johnston indicated.

“We have strong partners in Canadas like LongView and Powerland ,” Johnston added. “Given our relatively young heritage as a channel company – and only on aglobal scale for a year and a half, we are very committed to this.”

Johnston also highlighted Equinix’s record on sustainability.

“We as the largest data centre provider in the world have an object to lead in this area,” she said. “Since 2015 we have doubled our physical footprint but reduced our carbon footprint by 50%.”