Cloud Services, Recurring Revenues Help HPE's Hybrid Server Stand Out

Peter Carruth, president of Strato Communications, hadn't looked at selling HPE's ProLiant Easy Connect Managed Hybrid Server, but his tune changed after listening to Blaine Raddon, director of HPE's worldwide partner development, tout the solution at XChange Solution Provider 2017.

"Having everything in a box that works and is low maintenance, low-touch, and there's also value to it by bringing in and bulking on the services on the back end for the client – it looks great," said Carruth, a Sacramento, Calif.-based solution provider and HPE partner. "And hearing about the actual hardware itself, it's pretty dang amazing."

HPE's ProLiant Easy Connect appliance, launched last year, was the focus of Raddon's presentation in front of hundreds of solution providers on Tuesday. The solution was 100 percent designed to "go through the channel" and to be "branded for our partners," Raddon said.

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"This is the appliance that we're going to give you to build your services off of to save money and build better solutions," said Raddon. "You're going to stack cloud services on top of it, maybe [Microsoft] Office 365, [Microsoft] Azure, back end recovery … there's a lot of things you can build around this. This just becomes a base platform that you can build on."

The new SMB-focused server appliance includes a managed services software platform from software maker Zynstra aimed at delivering an on-premises subscription-based service for delivering hybrid cloud.

By combining cloud-based applications, with those on-premises, in multiple and remote locations, channel partners can address the challenges for security, standardization, centralized management, control and flexibility, which are key for SMBs, ROBO and the education market, according to Raddon.

"You get the best of both worlds here -- on-premise, safe, secure … but also the benefits of cloud," said Raddon. "We have very interested SaaS and cloud providers that have come to realize that if they don’t have an on-premise device for their service, they don’t have true controllability over the entire user experience."

HPE is selling the solutions as a monthly service to partners starting at $399 per month. "A lot of our partners are selling it for $1,200, $1,500 even $2,500 to their customers depending on what services you wrap around it," said Raddon.

The $399 monthly price tag and recurring revenue opportunities were a big eye opener for Strato's Carruth.

"It's a monthly recurring charge, and that's what we live and breathe on. It's a business model that's not going away," said Carruth. "It's hardware as-a-service, so I like that you can bolt on other areas and stay sticky with the client."

Partners can also sell the appliance on a one, three or five-year contract. "The stickiness of these contracts is amazing," said Raddon.

In September, HPE integrated ProLiant with Aruba Networks, the networking vendor HPE acquired in 2015 for $3 billion. With the new integrated product, partners can now bring ProLiant to customers with the cloud capabilities of Aruba on a recurring revenue basis.

"We're really looking at the edge of the networks. With Aruba Networks, we have the ability with this platform to manage everything from the network, to storage, to the compute," said Raddon.