SimpliVity CEO: Cisco Partnership Has Opened Hyper-Converged Sales Floodgates

SimpliVity founder and CEO Doron Kempel on Monday told CRN that his company's partnership with Cisco is clearing the path for channel sales of hyper-converged technology.

"The floodgates are opening," Kempel said, discussing the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) partnership that has helped propel a fourfold increase in SimpliVity sales in the second quarter compared with the first quarter. "We are seeing the largest Cisco partners shift their business, putting more investments into bringing us into deals. This is going to be an execution game. We need to prepare for 2016. There is going to be a deluge in 2016."

Cisco inked the deal with SimpliVity last year, but has been shipping its OmniStack hyper-converged platform on Cisco UCS servers just a little more than two quarters.

[Related: SimpliVity Touts High Growth, Especially Via Cisco Partners]

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The Cisco partnership opened the door for SimpliVity to post record sales in July, a traditionally "sleepy" summer quarter, particularly in Europe, said Kempel. "I'm surprised," he said. "It was our strongest month ever." The sales cycle for midmarket customers is only six weeks, said Kempel, down from three to four months one year ago. SimpliVity will cross the 100-customer Cisco UCS/SimpliVity OmniStack mark in the current quarter, he said.

The Cisco/SimpliVity OmniStack combination comes as Cisco partners are clamoring for the networking leader to acquire a hyper-converged player such as SimpliVity.

The stepped up sales from the Cisco/SimpliVity partnership also come with Cisco's recently deciding to shut down its Invicta storage business.

Kempel spoke with CRN after his keynote address at cloud solution provider GreenPages' Cloudscape 2015 -- Dare To Disrupt conference in Portsmouth, N.H.

GreenPages CEO Ron Dupler, who has noted that traditional infrastructure providers are under intense pressure, said that SimpliVity is "a great example of a game-changing transformational technology that is simplifying IT and IT operations for our clients."

Some Cisco partners have portrayed the SimpliVity relationship as disruptive, saying that it will hit legacy vendors like EMC and NetApp hard. They said those vendors are already feeling pressure from hyper-converged vendors and the Cisco/SimpliVity partnership turns up the heat.

"The VARs are driving this," said Kempel, noting that GreenPages is one of many Cisco partners that are driving SimpliVity's sales momentum. "This empowers Cisco VARs. SimpliVity and Cisco are very complementary, because we don't step on each other's feet. If you are VAR, you can take the SimpliVity technology, run it on UCS, manage it on UCS Director or [VMware] VCenter. Cisco VARs now have a hyper-converged offering."

The Cisco partnership momentum is increasing "to the point where this is becoming a big deal for Cisco as well," said Kempel. "The customers that we are winning together are some of the largest companies in the world. And it is happening globally."

When asked if he was afraid of getting crushed if Cisco were to develop its own hyper-converged offering, Kempel said he was extremely happy with the partnership. SimpliVity approached Cisco in 2014 before the deal was signed, with the networking leader doing six months of testing.

Kempel said that developing a hyper-converged infrastructure is a significant undertaking for legacy vendors. "You need to hire the right engineers," he said. "You need to give them the right direction. I think it is becoming a little late in the game for them to get in."