HPE GreenLake sales on the rise as branding tweaks include more lines

The strategy has changed so much that previously poor channel numbers don't count, we're told

HPE's GreenLake strategy has changed so completely that the company said it's impossible to compare poor channel sales numbers just three years ago to the modern GreenLake era.

HPE made the claims to The Register during a pre-brief to discuss partner and channel news ahead of HPE Discover in Las Vegas (June 17-20). HPE channel and partner ecosystem chief Simon Ewington told us that now all of HPE's hybrid cloud solutions "sit on top of GreenLake."

That, Ewington said, is a shift in strategy from earlier years – like in late 2021 when we reported that HPE's attempts to get more sales of the old GreenLake into the channel were moving at a glacial pace.

As of late 2021, just 900 out of HPE's 80,000 channel partners worldwide were selling GreenLake – equivalent to less than 1.25 percent. The company said it was planning to move all of its product portfolio under the GreenLake umbrella in 2022, and it appears that's now the case.

Ewington added that, back in 2021, when HPE provided numbers on GreenLake, they still pertained to GreenLake in its initial conception as the evolution of HPE Flex, the company's on-prem private cloud option that's priced based on consumption. Fast forward three years and Flex is still around, now as just one of many GreenLake products.

"The GreenLake platform is pervasive to everything we sell," Ewington said. "Whether you choose to consume it as a capex or opex solution, it's the same across all of our portfolio." What that means, Ewington added, is that "all of our partners will be engaged in selling solutions based on the GreenLake platform."

HPE has long forecast that GreenLake would become the centerpiece of its as-a-service portfolio, though the relationship to past performance remains unclear. We asked HPE on multiple occasions and pressed executives about the topic at Discovery last week, but no one was willing to share GreenLake partner numbers between the end of 2021 and whenever HPE finally flipped the switch on its GreenLake strategy.

"We're unable to make the comparison to the 2021 number because now all of our software is, or will be, managed within or through the HPE GreenLake platform," an HPE spokesperson told The Register. "All new deals starting with Gen11 or Alletra Storage MP will be HPE GreenLake, which means all partners, even those doing traditional business, will be doing HPE GreenLake."

That said, Flex still exists and its numbers haven't improved much compared to that 2021 benchmark, with Ewington saying that 1,274 partners (of more than 85,000) are currently selling Flex solutions. 

With around 900 partners selling GreenLake in 2021, that's not a lot of expansion, but we're told the strategy has evolved here too. HPE now focuses its Flex efforts on repeatability rather than adding new partners.

"We don't want thousands of partners who sell one GreenLake Flex solutions deal," Ewington said. "What we want is to get a great set of partners who sell multiple instances of Flex, so they become experts in selling opex solutions."

"We've been very successful in driving that strategy," Ewington said, without elaborating. 

According to figures for HPE's Q2 of fiscal 2024, ended April 30, 34,000 customer organizations used GreenLake, up 9 percent sequentially. The total lifetime contract value grew to more than $15 billion, with the Q2 annualized revenue run rate growing 39 percent year-on-year.

HPE's channel partners previously told us they view the as-a-service consumption model with some skepticism. Mike Norris, boss at Computacenter, one of Europe's largest resellers, said in 2020 that he understood the logic in vendors pushing the model versus selling capital goods.

"So we're out there, punting, you know, 'capex to opex, capex to opex, capex to opex'. It is a lie, it is a fallacy, it is just not what people really want," he told the Canalys Channels Forum at the time.

This could help explain why support for GreenLake wasn't there in 2021, but with everything HPE sells as-a-service now falling under the GreenLake banner, the direction of travel is clear.

Multi-tenancy for MSPs, other new partner features

Questions around GreenLake's initial success aside, and assuming you're aware of the other big announcements out of Vegas this week, HPE also made some launches at Discover designed to appeal to its partners and their IT teams.

HPE is expanding its Partner Ready Vantage program with new competencies, some of which were created with Nvidia. New AI acceleration workshops are also being created, and HPE said it's looking for additional partners with AI specializations since it views AI as "low-hanging fruit" for closing a sale.

GreenLake is getting some expansions for the partner channel too, like news OpsRamp AI infrastructure observability and isolated cloud capabilities, but there's one particular feature likely to be a standout for MSPs reselling HPE solutions and GreenLake: Multi-tenancy for GreenLake cloud.

"We are not a hyperscaler; we provide cloud solutions for dedicated customers," said Ulrich Seibold, HPE's global VP of GreenLake partner and service provider sales. "Our MSPs need to have a different environment."

The multi-tenant solution will reportedly have a single API endpoint for all customers, and licenses can be reassigned to different tenants as customer needs change.

"MSPs expected this from us because hyperscalers have been able to deliver this," Seibold said of the new multi-tenancy features. Along with multi-tenancy, MSP workspaces now also support OpsRamp, GreenLake for compute ops management, and Aruba networking user experience insight, the company revealed this week. ®

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