CRN Exclusive: Turbonomic Seeks To Boost Channel Power, Hires Hortonworks Vet Christopher Sullivan As Channel VP

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In another major move to boost its channel prowess, Turbonomic has hired Hortonworks and VCE veteran Christopher Sullivan as senior vice president of global alliances and channels.

Sullivan's hire comes less than a year after Boston, Mass.-based Turbonomic signed former Microsoft sales leader Jennifer Heard as channel chief, and it means her role is changing to focus exclusively on the cloud as senior vice president of cloud partnerships.

"This is about stacking the deck with unbelievable talent to drive alliances and channels globally," said Mark Thurmond, Turbonomic COO. "To have someone of Jennifer's caliber who knows Microsoft and AWS so well focused in on those specific partnerships is great. Chris was an early employee at VCE with no product and no revenue and was able to drive the channel alliances to over $1.5 billion. It's very, very cool to have Chris come on board."

Tim Frank, executive vice president of sales at AHEAD, a Chicago, Ill., solution provider that works with Turbonomic, called Sullivan "a seasoned veteran who knows how to utilize training, funding and incentives," and said he expects him to develop new programs and deeper integration between Turbonomic and Cisco.

"Chris knows how to dramatically scale the impact of partners," Frank said. "He was very successful at doing that with VCE, and his background includes Cisco. It's especially exciting because it will allow us to provide best-of-breed solutions from both [Turbonomic and Cisco] to accelerate enterprise cloud adoption for customers."

The channel exec moves come as Turbonomic looks to capitalize on its momentum in the market. About 70 percent of the company's business goes through the channel today, Thurmond said, up from less than 60 percent a year ago. The company now has customers in 48 countries and serves nearly 20 percent of the Fortune 500. Nearly 50 customers have spent more than $1 million with Turbonomic, Thurmond said.

Heard, who lives in Seattle where Microsoft is headquartered, will work closely with Turbonomic Executive Chairman and fellow Microsoft alum Bill Veghte to focus strictly on cloud partnerships as Turbonomic pushes to capitalize on cloud growth, Thurmond said.

"We just became Microsoft co-sell ready certified," Thurmond said. "We have significant traction with them in the field. That's where we're seeing a lot of growth. Those are a lot of the customer conversations we're having right now. Working with Microsoft, working with AWS. It's a significant enough move in the market to have an executive focused in on those partnerships and relationships."

Founded in 2010, Turbonomic has developed a software platform for data center, hybrid and public cloud environments that automatically matches application demand with infrastructure supply in real time, allowing those environments to essentially managed themselves.

Sullivan comes to Turbonomic after a two-year stint as senior vice president of global channels and alliances at Hortonworks. Prior to that, he spent about five years at VCE, the converged infrastructure firm started by Cisco and EMC, where he led regional and global sales and channel teams between 2010 and 2015.

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