HPE to partners: Contain this!

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HPE to partners: Contain this!

HPE has officially launched its containerisation service in the Australian channel, encouraging its partners to embrace open source.

The vendor’s foray into the open source marketplace is a relatively recent phenomenon and follows its acquisition of two companies, the tech from which is key to the new offering.

In November 2019, HPE completed its acquisition of Blue Data, a start-up which developed a software platform that leverages container technology to make it simpler and more cost-effective to deploy large-scale machine- learning and big data analytics environments.

This followed the purchase of MapR in August 2019, which developed a data platform for harnessing, managing, and protecting data. It also provides AI and analytics technology for data-driven transformation.

With the two new companies on the books, HPE set about reaching out to its local channel to find partners who could take advantage of its newly acquired tech.

HPE general manager, compute-hybrid IT, South Pacific Andrew Foot told CRN the vendor had been engaging with partners and customers for the past few months prior to the official launch, to gauge appetite in the market.

“We have been meeting with partners and exploring that container discussion with our existing partner base,” he said.

“We see an opportunity for containers with a lot of our existing partners and also the ability to on-board a couple of new partners.

HPE's Andrew Foot

While not a new technology, Foot said he had seen a growing interest in the market for containerisation and a maturation of use cases.

“When they were first used they were deploying containers for cloud-native workloads with great success. Off the back of that success, was the emergence of open source,” he added.

“Most companies are looking at how they can deploy enterprise applications in containers.”

“We have been meeting with partners and exploring that container discussion with our existing partner base and we see an opportunity for containers with a lot of our existing partners and also the ability to on-board a couple of new partners.”

Targeted partners

The sort of workloads best suited to containerisation are AI, big data, edge computing and cloud native. This makes the new channel play best suited for the big end of town.

“I would group them into three sets of partners which we see tremendous opportunity for,” Foot said.

First on Foot’s target list is the system integrator community.

“Those that are working on applications transformation and applications modernisation projects. We will invest heavily in and those sort of partners,” he said.

Second are those companies working on data being generated at the edge and with the internet of things (IoT).

“Partners who are helping customers on their journey to automation, or working on insight projects, we see great opportunity there.

The third set are service providers that have built up businesses around infrastructure as a service.

“They have delivered that based on bare-metal workloads, virtualised workloads or a combination of both,” he explained.

“With containerisation, we see an opportunity for some of those service providers to work together and take Container-as-a-Service to market.”

Skills

While potentially quite lucrative, the containerisation process does require a considerable amount of technical skill. Foot said HPE had a plan for this too.

“We are continuously working with our partners on enablement and up-skilling. We do a number of things, we invest in a number of funded head counts across our partner community,” he explained.

“This is something we will increase investment in but what we will work closely on with that group of partners is to up skill them individually and in group environments in the world of containers and the new go to market.”

Foot said the vendor had been in discussions with some partners for months but was not ready to name any at the time of writing.

Foot said that HPE’s distributors would play a crucial role in the up skilling process. Mainly in helping identify partners and bring them into the fold.

HPE’s local distributors are Arrow, Dicker Data, Ingram Micro and Lynx Technologies.

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