HPE Mounts Massive Cloud Storage Market-Share Grab

‘We have added people and set up a dedicated data and storage services sales team end to end that is tasked with working with our partners to land new customer footprints. Just to make it even more exciting, we are now paying our partners even more. This [near-tripling] of the partner incentive for landing new block [storage] as a service and data service opportunities is huge,’ says HPE North America Managing Director Paul Hunter.


Hewlett Packard Enterprise has launched an all-out bid to grab cloud storage services market share with a new North America data services and storage team backed up by a new partner incentive that nearly triples the commission for HPE GreenLake block storage as a service.

The changes are part of a drive for “data-first modernization and market-share growth in 2023” that was put in place for the start of the HPE fiscal year, Nov. 1, by HPE North America Managing Director Paul Hunter.

The changes initiated by Hunter put all of HPE North America’s storage and presales specialists under Adnan Bhutta as the new vice president and general manager of North America storage and data services sales. Previously, Bhutta was overseeing North America commercial sales.

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[RELATED: HPE North America Restructures To Drive GreenLake Sales]

Bhutta, an 11-year Dell Technologies veteran who joined HPE 15 months ago, is charged with leading the data-first modernization and storage market-share growth plan.

HPE is backing up the storage market-share grab by nearly tripling the commission for partners on HPE GreenLake block-storage-as-a-service offerings from 6 percent to 17 percent.

“We have added people and set up a dedicated data and storage services sales team end to end that is tasked with working with our partners to land new customer footprints,” said Hunter in an interview with CRN. “Just to make it even more exciting, we are now paying our partners even more. This [near-tripling] of the partner incentive for landing new block [storage] as a service and data service opportunities is huge.”

The big cloud storage data services sales offensive comes with HPE’s innovative storage portfolio firing on all cylinders, said Hunter.

“Our portfolio is at a really good place,” said Hunter. “With the acquisiton of Zerto and the build-out of data services, HCI and block [storage] as a service, backup and data recovery services are really compelling. On top of that we have had the introduction of the Alletra 5000. We have got a really strong hybrid proposition in storage.”

The increased partner incentives and the new North America data services and storage team represents a huge opportunity for partners, said Hunter.

“What we have done is we have invested in this opportunity because we see a lot of things coming together that we believe are now in our favor and play to why this is so exciting for our partners,” said Hunter. “The first is clearly our customers are looking for the adoption of data services. So our customers are telling us what we are proposing is how they want to buy and they like the proposition.”

HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri, for his part, told CRN after the recent strong HPE quarterly results that he is “very bullish” about the storage opportunity with HPE’s Alletra leading the GreenLake cloud data services sales charge. “2023 is the year of storage,” he said.

“We grew 6 percent [in the storage business in the most recent quarter],” said Neri. “But actually when you peel back the onion, our own [storage] IP set of storage products with Alletra grew high double digits and Alletra itself grew 100 percent quarter over quarter. That is the platform we are going to continue to enhance going forward. The reason we are excited and why we are incentivizing the partners is because it is all software-defined and cloud-delivered. As the content shifts to software more than hardware, that becomes incredibly profitable for both of us. From the customer standpoint, they get a cloud value proposition that is consistent from the entry point to the high end.”

The CEO of a top HPE enterprise partner, who did not want to be identified, said he sees HPE getting far more aggressive to grab share from competitors in 2023. “HPE is going after the storage business in a big way,” he said. “This is a concerted effort to grow net-new storage. They are going really hard after storage competitors with this. It’s going to have an impact.”

C.R. Howdyshell, president of Cleveland-based Advizex, No. 104 on the 2022 CRN Solution Provider 500, said he sees HPE’s new storage sales incentives and restructuring as a sign of further commitment to grow sales with and through HPE partners.

“We are already seeing increased HPE storage activity,” said Howdyshell. “This could have a big impact on our HPE storage sales in 2023. HPE is coming at the market from a position of strength with solutions teams focused on artificial intelligence and edge to cloud. They are doubling down on the right solutions with a big commitment to grow with the channel.”

The HPE storage sales charge reinforces HPE’s commitment to partners, said Howdyshell. “HPE wants to grow through the channel with a concerted effort around net-new accounts, he said. “HPE is doubling down where they need to with the right solutions, the right verticals and maintaining the focus on partners. This is a co-growth strategy—growth for the partner and growth for HPE.”

Pat O’Dell, general manager and managing partner for Clinton, N.J.-based CPP Associates, another top GreenLake partner, said the block-storage-as-a-service incentive is one more example of HPE’s commitment to partners that are bringing high-value cloud data services to customers.

“This rewards partners likes CPP who are providing support and services from the whiteboard to the keyboard,” said O’Dell. “At CPP we provide the same technical lead from the beginning to the end. It’s a different approach that customers truly appreciate because it simplifies their lives. It’s great that HPE is substantially increasing the rewards for block storage as a service, but the most important thing is this is going to save our joint clients a significant amount of money compared to other mainstream storage solutions.”

O’Dell said he expects CPP’s GreenLake cloud services storage sales to be up triple digits in 2023. “More and more customers want to buy storage as a service in a subscription model rather than as a capital expenditure,” he said. “Two years ago about 80 percent of our opportunities were traditional capital expenditure purchases. Today, 50 percent of our opportunities are as a service. I expect that to go even higher next year.”

Dan Molina, co-president and CTO of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and major HPE GreenLake provider, said he expects the new storage incentives to be a storage game-changer for HPE in 2023.

“This is a brilliant move by HPE,” he said. “We are super happy about this. Block storage as a service is a great play. Data is the new currency and there is more and more data being created. Storage is going to continue to grow. What excites me about this is the fact that HPE is not just offering this in a vacuum. This is going to be offered as part of GreenLake. When you have important data, you need backup and disaster recovery. With HPE’s acquisiton of Zerto and other solutions, they have a full storage stack.”