SolidFire Rewards Master Cloud Builders
One of the foundational components of any private cloud these days is all-Flash array, which enables multiple applications to share access to primary storage on orders of magnitude faster than a hard disk drives. The challenge for manufacturers of all-Flash array, however, is that there is no shortage of providers of these arrays.
Looking to better reward partners that use its all-Flash arrays to build those private clouds, SolidFire this week revamped the tiers in its Cloud Builder program to reward partners that focus on virtualization, agile infrastructure and OpenStack and then, as a superset of them all, created a Master Cloud Builder specialization that recognizes partners that develop skills across all three areas.
Gregg Machon, director of Worldwide Channels for SolidFire, said that as IT organizations embrace private clouds, SolidFire want to reward partners that acquire the complex set of technology skills required to build clouds on premise or in a host facility managed by a service provider.
As an extension of an existing SolidFire Cloud Builder program that already has 150 members, the focus on specializations represents an effort to help foster the development of the next generation of the channel, Machon said. He noted it’s now apparent that not only are business models converging, but the amount of technical expertise required to stay relevant to customers has also increased dramatically.
Thanks mainly to a "Fueled by SolidFire" program, about half of the revenues SolidFire generates are from service providers, Machon said, and 80 percent of the bookings the company generates in the enterprise have come from the 150 members of its Cloud Builder program. The additional specializations are intended to motivate partners to develop the expertise required to plug SolidFire all-Flash arrays into private clouds that require partners to have expertise in a variety of data center technologies to succeed.
Gartner reports the market segment has more than doubled in 2014 compared to 2013, with the total market revenues totaling $1.43 billion. One of the limiting factors in that growth is that at least in the initial wave of private cloud development many IT organizations have opted to use solid-state drives (SSDs) that plug directly into servers in their private clouds. But as the number of applications deployed on those private clouds increases, the case for using all-Flash arrays that can support applications running on multiple servers becomes stronger.
For its part, SolidFire reports that is cloud out 2014 with an average 50 percent increase in sequential quarterly bookings and grew its Enterprise business 570 percent over the previous year. It also estimates that some 58,000 businesses are now accessing all-Flash array storage delivered as part of a service created by one of its service provider partners. SolidFire has also raised $150 million in total funding, including its $82 million Series D funding round last October that is being used in part to fuel its global expansion.
Put it all together and it’s apparent that even though competition in the all-Flash array space is especially fierce, SolidFire is enjoying a fair amount of momentum—100 percent of which Machon said is being driven by its channel partners.