Hewlett Packard Enterprise's (HPE) acquisitions of SimpliVity and Nimble Storage has made it more accessible to SMB resellers, according to UK channel boss Mark Armstrong.
HPE acquired hyper-converged player SimpliVity for $650m at the start of the year, before following up with the $1bn acquisition of Nimble Storage in March.
Speaking to CRN Armstrong, who moved into the role in January, said the acquisitions will increase HPE's business with resellers selling into smaller customers - with its solutions prior to the acquisitions more suited to larger enterprises.
"The channel base of SimpliVity is quite small and bespoke channel partners and very specialist, so I think there's an opportunity to work with those partners to help them broaden out the range of solutions they can provide [from the HPE portfolio]," he said.
"Nimble is a little bit in between [the SimpliVity and HPE partner bases] in that Nimble has been incredibly successful with some of our traditional partners in specific markets. Equally there is an interesting base which we've not particularly penetrated with our own technology - typically smaller partners with very unique capability selling into specific markets.
"Nimble have been incredibility successful in the low-to-mid range flash space, 3PAR has been successful at the higher-end flash space. If you're a partner that only deals with really large customers then probably you're happy with 3PAR. If you're a partner that has a whole range [of customers] then we're extending the opportunity to trade."
Concerns were raised by both the SimpliVity and Nimble partner bases back when both acquisitions were announced - particularly at the thought of having to compete with larger HPE partners - and while Armstrong said he understands where the fears came from, he said the positives of these partners joining the HPE community far outweigh the negatives.
John Bland, managing director of UK sales at SCC, said that SCC will more than likely continue to sell solutions like 3PAR because of the size of its customers, but when it comes to the likes of SimpliVity larger resellers will look to partner with specialists, not compete with them.
"We're more likely to partner with them than try and hurt them," he said.
"The big guys like ourselves and Computacenter - we can't cover everything just because HPE takes something on. It might actually be that we partner with a smaller reseller that really has a specific SimpliVity skill set, so I don't think it's anything to worry about.
"Nowadays the market is so big that you can't do it all, so there's no problem with partnering with organisations with specialities."
Jonathan Lassman, managing director at Nimble and SimpliVity partner Epaton, agreed that the acquisitions could present good opportunities for smaller partners to work with the likes of SCC and Computacenter.
"The reason we set up specialist resellers - Epaton is a specialist reseller in storage - is because the big boys can't do what we do," he said.
"Our last business NTS was a security reseller and we sold it to Capita because they couldn't do what we did, so he's 100 per cent right. They need to partner with people like us to be able to find the opportunities first, open them up, and then it becomes a plug in for their organisation.
"We already partner with others - we've done work with Insight, SBL, Computacenter, and I think we've done some stuff with SCC as well - on frameworks and things like that where we're not big enough to get on the frameworks but we partner with these guys."
Lassman said that initial signs following the two acquisitions have been positive, with Epaton closing two Nimble deals this year, after not doing many in 2016.
He did however explain that HPE will only become more appealing to smaller partners if it doesn't overhaul deal registration to favour the larger resellers.
"The acquisition of Nimble has been good for us," he said. "If HPE combine Nimble with SimpliVity - the back-end infrastructure of Nimble with the front-end infrastructure of SimpliVity - they could make a new product which could be amazing.
"They'll only be more accessible if they allow the companies to operate their deal registration process in the way they currently run them.
"If they're going to basically allow the stalwart big three to get the same price as the smaller resellers even though they didn't find the deals then that's a problem. For example if you're going to get the big three that don't mind selling at zero per cent margin because they'll make the money back in rebates, that's going to destroy the market.
"We've seen other vendors in the channel, not HPE, play the game. If you've got Computacenter or CDW in a face-off for a new account they will sell at zero per cent margin. Resellers like us and others that are building markets for next-generation vendors can't compete with that."
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