Virtana brings in HPE and Sun veteran Leslie Maher as channel leader

Maher has spent her whole career at very large companies, but often in growth-focused project areas which she thinks well suits the needs of a smaller company like Virtana.

Leslie Maher, Vice President of Worldwide Channels and Alliances, Virtana

Hybrid cloud management and monitoring Virtana has announced the appointment of a new channel leader. Leslie Maher, who was most recently vice president of sales around new strategic initiatives at Hewlett Packard Enterprise [HPE], joins the company as Vice President of Worldwide Channels and Alliances.

Maher’s background is unusual for a company that would still be classified as a startup, despite having been around in one form or another for a while.  Most channel leaders at startups tend to have been channel leaders at other startups, with an occasional stop at a larger company. All of Maher’s experience has been at very large companies, starting with Sun, where she sent 21 years, moving to Cisco after Oracle bought Sun, and then being at HPE for the last eight years. Yet while the difference between working at large and small companies is very real, Maher emphasized how her specific work roles at those companies provided the experience to succeed at Virtana.

“A number of my roles at these big companies were in incubation or high growth product areas,” she said. “As such, they required a high growth mindset. I hope to bring those skills I learned at that size of business to a smaller company.”

Maher also stressed that many of her sales roles were channel focused or involved working with channel partners.

“I have always been focused on the channel, either working with it or having had a direct responsibility as a channel leader,” she said. “I also worked with some very talented leadership in the channel community.”

Virtana’s original core offering dates from the early part of the last decade, when they were known as Virtual Instruments. The startup had an on-prem infrastructure performance management platform, VirtualWisdom, but the company ran into issues which led to a 2016 merger with LoadDynamiX. In 2019, they acquired Metricly, which brought them the technology that became its public cloud analysis offering. Later that year, the company was renamed Virtana.

As Virtana the company has both maintained their legacy on-prem product, and made a systematic effort, like most companies these days, to strengthen their cloud presence and portfolio.

“We focus on both,” Maher said. “Because we have a hybrid offering, the on-prem is still critical, but we are also expanding deeper into the cloud.”

Virtana does a significant part of their business with and through partners, some of whom have been in the infrastructure performance management space for years. Their makeup is a mix of partner types.

“We have reseller solution providers, SIs, MSPs, distributors, strategic alliances and OEM relationships,” Maher indicated. “We focus on partners who are highly aligned with what we do.”

MSPs are definitely a focus for growth.

“We see a good opportunity with MSPs,” Maher said. “It’s a matter of ensuring that we have the right value proposition for them. There are large MSPs who focus on enterprise customers, as well as smaller ones who focus more downmarket. Historically, we have had a strong enterprise offering but are evaluating the market where we want to play. Supporting the MSPs will involve helping them understand costs and workload placement.”

Virtana’s channel program was recently refreshed in 2021, and Maher sees no need to make that a priority.

“There are no immediate plans in that respect,” she said.

While she is still meeting partners, having been on the job only two months, the general contours of the strategy she will follow are visible.

“I’m not coming in with a preconceived plan,” she said. “We do have this existing partner community we want to focus on, whether it’s having them adopt other parts of the portfolio or expanding in other ways. To get that expansion, we need to make sure that we have the best value proposition for the partners to help them expand and grow.”

While specific initiatives are still under wraps, Maher said that partners can expect to see key new innovation on the roadmap.

“I have been impressed with the pace of innovation since I arrived,” she stated. “Partners can rest assured that there is an innovation pipeline and new things to come.”