Hewlett Packard Enterprise is looking to realign channel partners in Europe around the cloud and shift their mindset from selling dedicated hardware to selling usage-based cloud computing and software-as-a-service. This local grassroots approach to the European cloud market is a differentiator for HPE against global cloud players such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise held its annual Cloud 28+ event in Amsterdam recently, inviting more than 200 channel partners -- including service providers, independent software vendors, value added resellers and system integrators -- to hear the latest on HPE's cloud initiatives, and what's next.
Cloud 28+, HPE's European partner alliance, has more than 225 members and over 1,000 services in its cloud service hub. It also has 1,500 users. That's a decent start. But HPE needs revenue generation and customer wins.
Key enterprise IT trends provide a window of opportunity for Cloud 28+:
Hybrid IT -- Enterprises still primarily use private cloud (75%) but are increasingly using public cloud services. They will end up using a mix of private and public cloud, depending on which is best suited to a particular application. Enterprises will have to manage multiple public and private cloud providers for software-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, unified-comms-as-a-service, analytics and big data, security, storage-as-a-service, and more. That's true even for small and midsized enterprises. That's where HPE and Cloud 28+ partners see an opportunity -- helping enterprises easily and securely manage and scale applications across multiple private and public clouds.
Openness -- Openness is key for enterprises that want to avoid vendor lock-in and benefit from the flexibility and agility that cloud promises. Enterprises are not just asking for open source, but openness, from suppliers -- integrating public and private cloud services and vendors' products, and also working with partners to deliver a complete business solution. For example, a public sector customer that wants to offer digital e-government services will need a secure compliant solution with identity management and the ability to track processes and digital signatures as well as cloud infrastructure and software. HPE will now support VMware and Microsoft Azure, as well as OpenStack, in direct response to customers' input.
Containerized apps and multi-clouds -- HPE has added an app onboarding center so that independent software vendors (ISVs) can easily add their applications in a Docker container and deliver an application in five days that can run on any cloud infrastructure. An app is ready to go after a security check. If an app needs to be patched, it has to go through the onboarding process again, as a way to ensure security and performance. The portal also makes it easy to move apps or workloads between cloud service providers and different geographic locations.
Cloud legalities -- Several security, government and legal officials referred to upcoming European legislation around data protection and fulfilling legal and security compliance requirements that could encourage cloud customers to shop locally. The 250-page General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is expected in May 2018 and the Network and the Information Security Directive in January 2018. Both will be required reading for both cloud service providers and end customers.
Is Cloud 28+ paying off for HPE?
Although HPE does not make money directly from Cloud 28+ by charging a membership fee or taking a percentage of deals, the vendor expects to make revenue from product pull-through, because these are HPE channel partners. There is also an opportunity for HPE in OEMing other vendors' products, or incorporating small innovative ISVs into its bigger solutions. For example, large enterprises might not buy directly from a small software company directly, but would buy from that company as part of a bigger solution from HPE, which has the resources to support larger enterprises. A good example is Lequa, a Swedish legal assurance company in digital cloud processes that HPE is successful in partnering with, especially in healthcare and the public sector. There are also examples of ISVs from outside Europe e.g., Momentum Technologies, a SaaS database specialist from Canada, that have joined Cloud 28+ as a way to reach customers in Europe via service provider partners.
While there are good examples of partnerships between ISVs and cloud service providers, solid cloud revenue and enterprise customer wins will be needed to prove the value of Cloud 28+. HPE, for its part, is helping the effort with new partner digital marketing and analytics, enabling partners to analyze and track opportunities and link content marketing to apps and solutions. As HPE said repeatedly at the event, "This is your community, it's up to you to take the opportunity."
— Sandra O'Boyle, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading