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HP aims cloud-in-a-box at channel

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Vendor ramps up channel education and resources to drive its Blade Matrix and iSCSI solutions portfolio

HP is ramping up channel education programs and resources to help drive partner profitability around its widening virtualised infrastructure and iSCSI solutions portfolio.

The vendor unveiled a range of new infrastructure products at the VMworld conference last week including the HP Insight Control for VMware’s vCenter, an SAN Readiness Assessment for server virtualisation, packaged HP migration services for vSphere and HP Operations Manager for virtualisation.

The latest tools complement the April launch of HP’s Blade Matrix solution for the datacentre, a server blade, storage, network connectivity and software resources bundle aimed at delivering virtualised infrastructure more efficiently.

HP Enterprise Server and Storage (ESS) director, Paul Robson, who was appointed to the job six months ago, said the Blade Matrix “cloud-in-a-box” offering was the cornerstone of its virtualised infrastructure strategy.

“As organisations move towards utility-based computing, discussions are now concerned about what applications they are going to pull down from the cloud. Our strategy is the infrastructure – we are delivering infrastructure that supports the cloud at any level,” he said.

Another emerging area of opportunity Robson flagged for partners was HP’s expanding iSCSI technology portfolio, which came through the acquisition of LeftHand Networks in October last year. Target customers include existing iSCSI users as well as organisations looking for lower-cost, remote managed storage solutions, he said.

“Under traditional SAN-based storage, you’d buy a rack full of memory and ship it. LeftHand is node-based, so you can keep adding branches to it. If you have a requirement for more storage, you simply connect it to the node and it’s automatically part of the network,” Robson said.

HP’s certified Business Partner Solutions Architects (BPSAs) are the initial route to market for LeftHand and Blade Matrix product lines, Robson said, and will be engaged in training sessions in late September.

And to help its wider partner community get up to speed on the expanding ESS portfolio, HP is running partner briefings nationally in September and October. The four-hour sessions aim to provide training, sales tips and tricks and go-to-market strategies, and are supported by the likes of Intel, Microsoft and VMware. It was important channel partners continued to have things to talk to customers about, he said.

“We’ve put together an agenda around all the stuff that has come out in the last nine months about virtualisation, networking, the cloud, and put together a story to give to the channel interested in this big picture. We will break it down into specific products and prices, that they can take to market,” Robson said.

HP also continues to invest in channel resources and has upped its headcount in the last 12 months. ESS has recruited a channel specialist in Sydney and one in Melbourne, along with a channel development manager for HP’s Unix platform, and one developer on the storage space.

“It’s about evangelising new technologies,” Robson said. “Rather than expect my sales team to just take another technology [like iSCSI] to market, we’re putting the resources behind it.”


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