As part of its ongoing effort to help businesses cope with digital transformation, CenturyLink is making a big push into managed storage by joining NetApp's Partner Program so it can resell NetApp hardware and licensing solutions.
According to Terence Gleeson, vice president of Strategic Partner Alliances at CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), the Tier 1 provider already has a history of working with NetApp for managed storage, unified storage and cloud platforms to support its managed hosting services, but today's news takes the relationship further.
CenturyLink already has a number of colocation environments where customers have historically had NetApp equipment, says Gleeson.
"We've always shared these joint customers that are utilizing NetApp platforms and CenturyLink services, but we didn't have the capability to resell their platforms so [the partner program] is a good fit and makes sense," he says, adding, "Our customers want us to be able to provide full and complete solutions."
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Over the years, CenturyLink and NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) have worked hard to grow their relationship and better align their executive leadership in operations, engineering and sales, says Gleeson. "We have the managed services and now we have the key ingredient to be able to resell the NetApp hardware," he says. "I think that's important because when we are talking to our customers and they've got their digital transformation projects, there are going to be storage components -- NetApp has a unique storage operating system (ONTAP) that is optimized for enterprise workloads and emerging applications -- and now we are able to provide those services completely to our customer base." (See CenturyLink Joins NetApp Unified Partner Program.)
Gleeson says joining with NetApp is part of the provider's "big push in the field" and joining the program represents new revenue streams for the service provider. It also gives NetApp a "powerful sales arm" in CenturyLink, he says. "We are looking at seeing how large we can grow it."
CenturyLink will take approximately six main routes to market with the solution, including its large enterprise, SMB, government and education, and global teams, says Gleeson. "We are looking at what we can do internationally," he notes. "And if we can turn our CenturyLink partner program to resell this, we will as well."
Joining the NetApp Partner Program is just "one piece to a really big puzzle," so don't expect the relationship to stop here, said Gleeson. "We want to be able to offer our customers a complete package. If a customer wants a managed service, we can do that. If they decide they just want to own the hardware and manage it themselves, we are able do that too."
Going forward, Gleeson says the program will likely expand beyond managed storage. "I know our product teams are looking at different solutions of theirs. I know that they are talking to our cloud teams, our managed services and storage teams on different solutions that we can put out there. We are getting our sales teams together and doing a joint go-to-market plan. There's a lot of synergy."
Managed storage is indeed "one piece of the puzzle" for CenturyLink and managed services if recent news from the company is any indicator. Just two weeks ago the Tier 1 service provider announced its Cloud Application Manager to help enterprises manage workloads in a hybrid cloud environment. And last week, CenturyLink's Bill Bradley, senior vice president of cyber engineering and technology services, spoke with Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the provider's managed security services. (See CenturyLink Ready to Roll on New Services and CenturyLink: Changing the Security Mindset.)
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor, Light Reading
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