HPE Working to Bring Channel Partners Along with Kubernetes Growth
(Pictured above: A packed keynote at KubeCon 2019 in San Diego.)
KUBECON CLOUDNATIVECON NORTH AMERICA — As the Kubernetes container orchestration platform continues to mature and grow its business user base around the globe, HPE is working to build and promote Kubernetes as a critical tool that its channel partners can help spread to the masses.
To highlight that growing mission, HPE has unveiled its new HPE Container Platform, built to give developers secure and rapid access to their Kubernetes IT environments as well as easier provisioning and multicluster management for production Kubernetes environments. Announced earlier this week here at the KubeCon North America 2019 event in San Diego, the product is just part of the company’s plans for Kubernetes expansion, Robert Christiansen, vice president and chief cloud strategist in HPE’s office of the CTO, told Channel Futures.
Channel partners aren’t interested in Kubernetes just for the sake of the technology, he said, but they are intrigued because of how the platform can serve their customers and solve customer needs, said Christiansen. More and more partners have been discussing these scenarios with HPE over the last year as they work to understand Kubernetes and learn more about how it can be used to grow their services and revenue.
“Absolutely, but they’re looking for as an outcome,” he said. “They want to know how they can give their clients a set of services that they believe will accelerate their competitiveness in the marketplace … whether it’s SMB, midmarket and partners that handle the enterprise-level stuff.”
For midmarket and SMB customers, that will mean channel partners having to work to explain how Kubernetes can be solution-based in a wide variety of examples in vertical markets, said Christiansen.
“If HPE is going to continue to leverage the channel in a cooperative way that gives them a set of services that they can really deliver to their clients, that leverages the new virtualization model” involving the still maturing world of Kubernetes and containers, he said.
Today, the channel is mostly focused on virtual machines using VMware or Hyper-V, which is fine because partners are familiar with them and know how to sell, deploy and help manage them for customers, said Christiansen.
But to keep up with the growth and interest in the open-source Kubernetes platform, “the channel is going to need to pivot with the industry to be relevant,” he said. “So, it’s incumbent on HPE to bring them along with us in our strategy.”
For HPE, that means positioning its set of Kubernetes services well to give channel partners a huge leveraging point for their sales and services to customers, he said.
“Having Kubernetes as a name inside that space is more important than channel partners actually understand because of what that actually could do for them,” he said.
That process involves showing partners how to deploy applications on bare metal, including applications they have already put together for their clients. It also means showing partners other related opportunities that can help grow their services businesses using Kubernetes.
“If they want to deploy Kubernetes, including multiple clusters of Kubernetes across multiple platforms of infrastructure – which is a really good thing to do if you’re a channel partner – HPE can help them,” whether it is on public clouds or on premises and whether it is on HPE gear or Dell, Lenovo or other hardware.
“Having a channel partner who has the skills, the capabilities and the desire to be that service partner in those channels is absolutely critical for our success,” Christiansen said.
For SMBs to eventually become more intrigued by Kubernetes for cloud computing and have it trickle down to their operations in the future, the technology needs to become …