VMware's UK channel chief, Phil Croxford, has claimed partners not selling the range of the vendor's newest products will "simply drift by the wayside" and "not make any money".
Speaking to CRN, Croxford laid down the gauntlet to VMware's partners to embrace the full range of its products – particularly its hybrid cloud and software-defined datacentre (SDDC) offerings – and claimed partners will not thrive by selling the classic compute virtualisation of its vSphere Hypervisor.
"You have to bear in mind that our entire partner programme is aligned with that goal [of supporting the range of products]," he said. "Just like our sales guys' compensation is designed to drive sales of these shiny new products, these non-vSphere products, our partner rebate scheme is designed to get them [partners] selling vSAN – software-defined storage; NSX products – software-defined networking; and hybrid cloud.
"Any partner who is not selling that broad range of products, the newer VMware products, will actually not make any money. They will simply drift by the wayside," he said.
Croxford, who joined VMware in September from SAP, explained that this shift in impetus for VMware's partners has been driven by the vendor's vertiginous growth in new, "non-core" products.
"The last results we published show we passed the $6bn (£3.9bn) mark, but the key statistic was we were 55 per cent non-core, shiny new stuff, rather than our traditional Hypervisor business. We did some incredible things with the Hypervisor business – our compute virtualisation product – but the analysts have looked at us and gone 'you have done that, but what's next?'
"The analysts are waiting for act two, and act two for us is all SDDC, hybrid cloud and business mobility. For me as a channel person, that means we have a significant difference in terms of what we need from the channel."
Croxford (pictured) explained this shift in channel demand comprised getting partners to "paint this vision of SDDC".
"We need organisations that can have those software-defined and hybrid cloud conversations with our customers and take them on that journey."
He said those partners who just stick to vSphere will not "experience any growth" and these partners will "become less relevant" to VMware.
"We are conscious we have gone from being a single product company to having a portfolio of products that is quite broad. What we will probably see is our most strategic partners will engage with us across our whole portfolio. You look at the larger channel partners like Softcat and Computacenter; those organisations have the capacity to work with us across hybrid cloud and business mobility – with the combination of our end-user computing (EUC) product portfolio and AirWatch."
Croxford said he is expecting a number of VMware's 25 managed UK partners to incorporate the wider field of products, as well as bring on an undisclosed amount of new, more specialised partners.
"We will select the partners we manage based on the breadth of portfolio they adopt, and the investment they make with VMware," he added.
VMware has recently made tweaks to its partner programme to encourage partners to branch out.
Rebates have been increased for new products in the software-defined networking (SDN) field and for Virtual SAN, and across its EUC products. Croxford would not disclose what the rebates have been increased from and to, but said it varied according to the partner level.
He was also explicit about the opportunities in these new areas, quoting IDC's estimates that the global SDN market will grow from $960m in 2014 to $8bn by 2018.
"There are fantastic opportunities around the VMware portfolio, if partners embrace it. The doors are open and we want to work with our existing partners and new partners around these new product areas. All of them are in rapidly growing markets and we invariably have leading products in those markets," he added.
Ajaz Rathore, managing director of VMware partner R-Com, said he was happy with the message of diversity.
"The vSphere wars are over, between Microsoft and VMware, and now they [VMware] want you to upsell into NSX, end-user computing and all these products that enhance the way VMware runs.
"I think they are now massively focused on where they want to go and there are a lot more new managers who are hungry and have a new hunger to succeed in the market," he said.
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