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Michael Haley, president of Edge Solutions, a $17 million Alpharetta, Ga. HP partner, said he has made selling HP services, including cloud services, part of his business model. "We try to use HP Services all the time," he said. "We started the business two years ago so we didn't have a legacy services business. Using HP adds good services delivery capabilities and reduces our fixed costs." He praised HP services leadership team for "making it a lot easier for us to use their services."
HP in February launched its Cloud Enablement program, which gives partners financial incentives, as well as engineering and expertise, to build their own cloud service delivery platforms using HP's Converged Infrastructure portfolio.
At the same time, HP began holding a series of one-and two-day Cloud Discovery workshops, in which HP professionals teach partners about cloud business models, security implications and services delivery best practices. The new CloudSystem partner program unites all of these initiatives under a single umbrella, and Rauch says the formalization it represents shows how far HP has come in a relatively short time.
"Three months ago, partners couldn't sell Cloud Discovery Workshops, or CloudMaps, but now they are," said Rauch. In two or three months, partners will also be able to sell CloudStart, a deployment offering HP rolled out last August that includes the hardware, software and services to build and deploy a private cloud within 30 days, Rauch said.
While partners are impressed with HP's momentum in the cloud, some are also wary of its implications for the channel. Bob Venero, president and CEO of Future Tech, a Holbrook, N.Y. solution provider, said he will look at reselling HP's cloud services on an opportunity-by-opportunity by basis.
"The good and bad with that is that those partners that haven't invested in their own sales, consulting and technicians now have an even playing field without those that have made investments in their own services. It hurts partners that have invested in their own services," Venero said. "Everything is starting to get into a commodity type world, and I would hate to see cloud equal commodity."
Harry Zarek, president and CEO of Compugen, a Richmond Hill, Ontario HP partner, said he will consider HP's cloud services offerings, but he cautioned that "the challenge we have is every OEM and software vendor has their own channel program on cloud. The fact of the matter is we can't implement all of them."