Hewlett Packard Enterprise has snatched away one of Microsoft’s top cloud executives, Keith White, to lead the fast growing HPE GreenLake business unit as general manager and senior vice president.
White, a 20-year Microsoft veteran, has played a critical role in driving dramatic Microsoft Azure sales growth, most recently as vice president of the intelligent cloud, worldwide commercial business.
“Keith played a key role in driving the significant growth of Azure over seven consecutive years,” said HPE Hybrid IT President Phil Davis in a blog post titled “Technology & Talent: Changing The Game In Hybrid IT. “Keith also brings extensive experience in worldwide field sales and marketing, partner ecosystem development and business strategy leadership – all of which will be key elements of his role here at HPE.
The White appointment comes with HPE GreenLake channel sales up 326 percent in the fourth fiscal quarter ended Oct. 31. For the full fiscal year, HPE GreenLake channel sales were up 231 percent.What’s more, HPE’s GreenLake sales pipeline is soaring, recently surpassing the the US$850 million mark.
Before taking the helm nearly three years ago to oversee Microsoft's intelligent cloud business, White was general manager of cloud and enterprise, field and business strategy, and general manager of worldwide public sector marketing.
White, for his part, told CRN that he was attracted to the HPE job to build and grow a robust business just as he did with the intelligent cloud organization at Microsoft.
One of the keys to the success of Microsoft Azure, said White, was the embrace of partners. “We really had to pivot as a company to be partner led and to sell through and with our partner ecosystem and with the channel,” he said.
He expects GreenLake will take a similar path to Azure.
"There are a lot of similarities. The inflection point came when people realized this was really about solving customer problems and understanding what the outcome is that the customer required versus just selling technology."
"That happened when we really started to get deep with our partner ecosystem. That happened when we talked to them about how do we jointly go to market together and co-sell your solutions whether that is an ISV (Indpendent Software Vendor) or a managed service provider (MSP), how do we sell together."
"At the end of the day that inflection point came when we had that machine running really well. That meant we had to help our existing partner base understand how to live in this new world. That was tough for some folks so we really had to help them forward. We also had to go recruit new partners because there was a new partner type that was emerging based on what was happening with respect to that."
"But I really think it became core when we saw a strong win win for both the partner and the company – whether that is Microsoft or HPE- where selling into a customer was both profitable and long term because it provided us a platform with which to do the next solution and opportunity with that customer. This is where the channel plays a key role."
White added that he sees "nothing but upside" in the cloud for HPE partners.
"Look at all the research out there. Yes the public cloud is going to continue to grow so there is a bunch of opportunity there. But with respect to consumption based on the private cloud or on prem that growth is tremendous."
"The reality is that running the intelligent cloud business at Microsoft we saw continued strong growth with respect to products like SQL Server and Windows Server because people were modernizing their data center and moving to the public cloud. That goes back to the hybrid cloud."