Virtualization Vendor HotLink Launches North America Channel Program

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Virtualization management startup Hotlink is a VMware partner that launched its first product at VMworld last year, yet the company's goal is to help customers use non-VMware hypervisors.

Apparently, this strategy has been working out well. HotLink on Monday launched a channel program around its flagship SuperVisor product, which allows VMware vCenter to natively support hypervisors from Microsoft, Citrix and Red Hat.

Cross-platform management is important because it gives VMware customers options if the vendor makes future changes to its licensing terms, according to Lynn LeBlanc, founder and CEO of HotLink. Sales of SuperVisor have been triple what HotLink expected when it launched the product last year, she said.

VMware's introduction last year of vRAM, the vSphere 5 licensing model that pegs costs to the amount of memory customers allocate to virtual machines on the host, has effectively highlighted the risks of the single-vendor approach, LeBlanc said.

"Partners have a big opportunity to have more cost effective infrastructure that provides flexibility," LeBlanc said in an interview. "They don't want to find themselves in jeopardy in the future from having a single provider."

VMware customers facing large enterprise licensing agreement (ELA) renewals have been able to save 50 percent by brining Hotlink SuperVisor into the mix, LeBlanc said, adding that those savings can be larger depending on how much the customer diversifies their management infrastructure.

Gauging ELA costs is especially challenging for companies that are growing quickly because they must project their expected usage in the future. LeBlanc said ELA costs are often more than double the cost of what the customer had previously, but SuperVisor helps by letting customers to shift some virtual infrastructure and management to less expensive hypervisors.

"We're taking cost out and eliminating lock-in. There has been a lot of negative customer passion around both of these things," she said.

HotLink is looking for partners with a background in virtualization, LeBlanc said, and the company provides training and certification that takes between one and five days. HotLink also offers basic training that partners can access online.

HotLink partners receive discounts on pricing of 25 to 75 percent, depending on the SKU, and LeBlanc said VARs will be able to extend their own services offerings and differentiate their own virtualization practices. Joint selling opportunities are also part of the program.

HotLink was founded in 2010 by the founders of FastScale Technology, which VMware acquired the same year, and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.

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