With Pure’s portfolio expanded down to the lower reaches of the data centre, and flash reaching that long-sought price parity in that environment, both Pure and their partners think the potential for significant growth has arrived.
LAS VEGAS – On Tuesday, Pure Storage held their Global Partner Forum in an environment that allowed the company to highlight new opportunities for the channel. Pure’s extension of their FlashArrays further downmarket lets them sell into pretty much all of the data centre, and gives them a counter against competitor arguments that they are a niche offering for high-end mission critical applications. The continuing fall in the price of flash has reached the point where Pure can offer a price point of 20 cents per GB raw. These add up to greatly expanded opportunities in which partners can avoid being priced out of data centre business, and Pure wants them to take advantage of this by doing things like selling to more new customers and expanding their services capabilities.
“With the introduction of our new products over the last six months, partners will now be able to address all market segments,” said Wendy Stusrud, Vice President of Global Partner Sales at Pure. “They won’t have to walk away from business.”
Partners who serve more SMB-heavy areas still have some questions how this will play out, but Pure is emphasizing that the overarching price and technology trends will lean even more in their favour going forward.
Geoff Greenlaw, Vice President Partners for EMEA and LatAm, said that many partners in his areas thought the entry point for an all-flash data centre may still be a little high.
“There were concerns that entry level of about 1 PB could still be too high for the EMEA and LatAm market,” he said. “Over time, however, we will see a further reduction in the entry level. The cost of flash is continuing to decrease rapidly over time. Customers are also moving from CAPEX to OPEX, which is clean and easy to understand and sell.”
“There are opportunities we haven’t been invited to in the past,” said Andrew Fisher, Vice President Partners for Asia Pacific and Japan. “We were considered Tier One high-value workload, and maybe too expensive for some data centres. The changes we have made to the portfolio open up all-flash to everything that in the data centre.”
Greenlaw emphasized that you can’t just look at the cost of storage capacity itself, and that Pure committing to a specific and low price point was also important.
“This is the first time we publicly declared our price point, at 20 cents per GB,” he said. “We’ve never said that before. We’ve also never been so relevant because of our lower requirements for power and cooling. It takes 130 million gallons of water a year to cool a data centre. That is not sustainable.”
Stusrud indicated that they asked partners to double down to take advantage of these opportunities.
“Our channel strategy is always focused on growth,” she said. “We will tweak our marketing campaigns to uncover new opportunities together. That channel audience has a lot of experience selling flash arrays, but we want them to sell more besides this, The expansions of the portfolio opens up new parts of the market and lets them sell more to more customers.”
In particular, they emphasized how many partners should now be able to create or expand their services business.
“We challenged partners around how they can build a services capability to complement what we have been building,” Stusrud said. “We are really bullish on managed services, which will augment the recurring revenue partner opportunity. Of the partner routes to market, some, like GSIs and MSPs, in many cases, only have a managed services offering. Some others were also offering managed services and we were helping them be creative. A lot of our resellers are also doing this already, but maybe not with Pure. We want to make sure they deal with us as part of their managed services.”
Building out more joint initiatives with the channel, Pure and third party vendors is another area of opportunity.
“We have produced some very detailed reference architectures available through our portal,” Fisher said. “We are seeing a lot of success by partners working with these vendors. There are dozens of them.
“Demo equipment is a key contributor to success for partners, which helps them quickly convert prospects, and we asked them to invest in demo equipment,” he added.
The Pure channel leaders said that they had a very good response from partners to the new opportunities and the request to leverage them.
“We had incredibly positive feedback across the board,” Greenlaw said. “People completely bought in to the message.”
“Broadly the partners are very excited about the new story, that we are not just for Tier One storage any more,” Fisher said. “We know that message takes time to resonate, but partners will be able to tell that message more confidently than in the past. Customer testimonials are also vital in this.
“It’s not a flash vs flash battle, but flash vs misinformation,” Fisher stressed. “There is no one else doing what we are doing. Our ability to handle flash is a big technological opportunity. We used to have an issue that if we don’t have the right portfolio, how can we expect partners to present us as a solution, and that led us to become the bridesmaid in some cases instead of the bride when it came to partners leading with us. But things have changed a lot in the last 90 days with our ability to now address the entire data centre.”
GSI Wipro has been a Pure Storage partner since 2016, traditionally more around block and object storage.
“This week we just unveiled with Charlie Giancarlo our sustainability approach and Go-to-Market strategy with Pure at Davos [World Economic Forum] and just released our sustainability report,” said Brian Gahan, GM for Global Partnerships, at Wipro. “We focus on sustainability for our clients. We offer managed services and Pure’s technology helps us be more efficient around them.”
Gahan said Wipro thinks Pure has a great opportunity in front of them because they have a unique position with all Flash.
“It is compelling how much savings there is working with Pure – the flash itself vs spinning disk, and the need for less electricity and less overall maintenance,” he stated.
Wipro positions Pure’s Evergreen//One storage as-a-service platform against the likes of HPE Greenlake.
“Around 20% of our Pure business is some kind of Evergreen model or as-a-service,” Gahan said. “In the managed services space, we see people asking for an as-a-service model more.” He citedCanadian logistics company Innovapost as a joint client they won in a competitor takeout, with the message around sustainability, efficiency and ease of maintenance. Wipro owns the managed service piece to that.
“Routes to market are critical for us, and Pure has a unique route to market,” Gahan stated. “They have a mindset of where they want to go, with flash and sustainability. They found their niche.”
Stusrud summed up the broader messaging they want partners to take away from the event.
“What I hope that they see is how much we want to do business with them,” she said. “We are aligned with them and we want to make it profitable for them. The collaborative sales motion is really a differentiator for us, because not all our competitors are all-channel like us. A lot of our competitors also don’t invest in R&D the way we do.”