VMware Channel Chief Rauch Spurs Partners Into vSAN, NSX: 'Without The Channel, VMware Doesn’t Even Exist'

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VMware is counting on its partners to carry the momentum created by its recent growth into emerging technologies like its vSAN hyper-converged infrastructure and its NSX software-defined networking solution.

"Without the channel, VMware doesn't even exist," Frank Rauch, VMware vice president of Americas partner organization, told solution providers at the Best of Breed conference in Atlanta Tuesday, noting that Palo Alto, Calif.-based VMware saw 12.5 percent growth in the first half.

"Everybody came together," Rauch said. "Everybody realized the value of vSAN, of NSX. We thought compute was going to decline, but it's started to grow, and the third quarter looks pretty good, too."

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Rauch said NSX is now on a $1 billion annual run rate and vSAN claims 10,000 customers and is accelerating in the market. "For customers buying vSAN a year ago, the sales cycle was almost a year," he said. "It's down to 90 days right now, and 40 percent of customers who bought vSAN buy it again within six months at a deal size bigger than the original deal."

Rauch noted that vSAN's 10,000 customers represent a fraction of VMware's 500,000 total customers. "That means 490,000 have not bought vSAN," he said.

To help partners make headway with customers, Rauch said the company is offering significant discounts, investing in specialists to help partners sell vSAN and NSX, as well as architects to help partners build out practices around those solutions.

"We're investing," Rauch said. "We have the most mature enablement program, and we're seeing the average deal size going through the roof."

Rauch said the company is also rolling out "Project Voyager," a program that provides incentives for partners to go after new logos. "You give us a list of your top customers, and we will give you that list back and tell you where those logos exist and the demand triggers to understand who is most likely to buy based on propensity models," Rauch said.

Pat Turney, director partner relations at JMARK, a Springfield, Mo.-based solution provider that works with VMware, said he expects strong growth in his VMware business.

"The majority of our clients are small to midsized customers, and we've had good success with vSphere products," Turney said. "We're doing a lot more with cloud, and we're working on building out a cloud practice and looking at VMware. They're always at the forefront of technology, and looking at how they can stay in touch with what's going on in the marketplace. They don't lag behind. They were one of the first to market in this space, and that speaks a lot. We do Hyper-V as well, but our lead has been VMware."

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