Hitachi Data Systems Corporation has announced three new cloud options for customers and partners to access the cloud. The one which will have the most relevance for its solution provider partners is enhancements to Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) which streamline and accelerate the process of building and managing cloud. The others are a new Cloud Service Provider program, which will involve only a small number of large service-oriented partners, and a new managed private cloud solution, Hitachi Cloud – Compute as a Service, which is a direct play.
“These three announcements look like three separate things, but it’s really one thing we are trying to accomplish in the marketplace,” said Gary Breder, Director at Cloud Marketing at HDS. “Customers all deserve the benefits of cloud, but each customer has their own unique requirements, so a one size fits all approach won’t work.”
For HDS channel partners, the big news here is the enhancements to the Hitachi UCP converged solution. Hitachi UCP Director infrastructure automation software has been enhanced to accelerate deployment, and streamline management and operation to make it easier for IT to build and deploy private and hybrid clouds. UCP has been natively integrated with both Microsoft System Center and VMware vCenter, so its management can be done through these familiar interfaces if the customer so desires. UCP now also adds new options to access VMware vCloud Air and Microsoft Azure for any organization that prefers to build and manage private and hybrid cloud.
“UCP is a very strong channel play because it’s a conventional product,” Breder said. “It will be more important to our distributors and resellers than anything else.”
Another of the new offerings, the Hitachi Cloud Service Provider program, is designed to create a network of cloud service providers that offer cloud services that are “Powered by Hitachi Data Systems.” Hitachi will co-market and co-sell these partners’ cloud services and will facilitate a joint business planning and a go-to-market approach.
This sounds great for partners, but the catch – and it’s a big one – is that very few of them will be invited to take part.
“This is not a shared logo program for hundreds of providers,” Breder said. “We want to partner with those with a track record of success in delivering services. We are being very select with the CSPs we are targeting because we are looking for high value-add CSPs.”
Breder said this program is targeted at customers who need specialized vertical expertise for mission-critical cloud applications, or who can’t let data go beyond their borders. It also uses a “shared risk, shared reward” model to ensure predictable economics.
“It solves a problem cloud service providers typically have of needing to invest a lot up front,” Breder added. “This is a shared risk, shared reward model that adjusts costs to their billable revenue stream. We don’t get paid unless they do.”
The Hitachi Cloud – Compute as a Service builds on HDS’ previous storage-as-a-service offering with a fully-managed on-prem compute-as-a-service cloud solution. It can also be customized to include off premise capabilities through HDS’ partnership with Equinix.
“Storage-as-a-service has given us a strong background of delivering service where we maintain assets,” Breder said. “It is for customers who want to have the public cloud experience, but they need it behind the firewall. We manage and operate it and the contract is on basis of service levels.”
There is no channel component, at least for now, following the model of the previous storage offering.
“We don’t do this on a small scale, and because each implementation is elite, it is only direct, and there is no reseller program for it,” Breder noted. “Going forward, we will be looking at how to bring a reseller and distribution network in, but it will likely be on a finder’s fee basis.”