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We have recently met with a number of channel partners to better understand their business and where they were seeing challenges in their ability to grow revenue. Some of what they said was not a big surprise, but there was one piece that really stood out. For most, the need to compete in an over-saturated market was killing them. They would show up to a customer meeting, competing against 5 other reseller partners, and all were pitching the same exact solution: hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).

But the fact that they were all pitching the same solution was not their only challenge from my perspective. I wondered whether the technology choice, HCI, really addressed what customers needed to negotiate the transformation ahead. For virtualization workloads, HCI has certain well-understood benefits. However, as deployments grow and organizations pivot to hybrid cloud, is it cost-effective and flexible enough to achieve critical transformation goals? How might one pivot between virtualized vs. containerized applications and core vs. emerging distributed edge requirements, all while tackling new cloud-like operational objectives?

From our perspective at Nebulon, we are seeing a major shift underway, and for end-users who are looking for a more flexible and cost-effective solution, which is also operationally more simple, now is the time for the channel to consider their options and gain a competitive advantage in the solutions they offer to their customers.

Let’s take a quick look at the shifts I referenced earlier:

1. The cloud is seen more and more as an operating model, not just a destination
At this point, cloud computing is ubiquitous. Organizations are increasingly savvy about which of their workloads make sense to put in public cloud data centers, which need to remain in on-premises data centers, and which are in the cloud today but need to return on-prem for certain reasons. But for enterprise application data that is remaining or returning on-prem, why give up the operational benefits of the public cloud?

2. SOC technology created new flexibility and a new path to cost savings
System-On-Chip (SOC) technology was not available three or four years ago with the horsepower we see today, and we are seeing huge popularity with this approach for cost savings, densification, and overall workload flexibility. It’s core to the Nebulon Services Processing Units (SPUs), cloud-managed PCIe cards that our partners source from their supply chain, then embed and sell as a part of their servers). The interesting bit about this technology is that, unlike HCI, you can enjoy a full suite of cloud-managed enterprise data services embedded in servers without the server CPU, memory, and networking overhead. Plus, the fact that Nebulon cloud-enabled servers can be purchased by reseller partners directly from server vendors makes selling simple—no new end-user contracts, no new channel agreements, no lawyers!

3. Expectations for on-premises data are changing
As organizations consider their hybrid cloud strategy, they want to leverage a more cloud-like approach to operations, independent of the location of the workload (core, edge, hosted, or public cloud data center). It is also clear that neither traditional 3-tier architectures nor HCI can deliver the self-service, fleet-managed approach needed at an affordable cost.

At Nebulon, we created a differentiated solution called smartInfrastructure for resellers to compete and win in the hybrid cloud market. smartInfrastructure brings public cloud simplicity to your on-prem enterprise application infrastructure with server-embedded, infrastructure software delivered as-a-service for any application, from core to edge.

A Partner Program Designed to Help Resellers Win

In addition to a differentiated platform, we are super excited to share the new Nebulon smartPartner Program with our channel partners.

This new partner program is designed to help resellers grow their business, increase margins and close new deals on day 1 with Nebulon smartInfrastructure. It’s built on our core Nebulon philosophy: to enhance and positively impact the existing relationships with our channel partners and their IT infrastructure vendors.

Nebulon smartPartner: A partner program like no other

What we’re doing with the smartPartner program is unique in that we’re offering it exclusively to our reseller partners to create massive wallet share growth in ways that haven’t been done before. It’s easy by design, with no complicated paperwork required between us and our partners.

This program fits right in with our Nebulon business model. We go exclusively through our partners and have built an enablement team to support them. With smartPartner, resellers control the commercial (pricing) conversation with customers because we don’t sell directly to customers and smartInfrastructure is typically part of a server bid where Nebulon pricing is rarely broken out.

Incentives to drive business and enhance margins

As part of the smartPartner program, we’re offering our channel partners two incentives.

  • smartStart is designed to help Nebulon channel partners generate immediate business with Nebulon SPU rebate incentives. Partners can then decide whether to pocket the rebate or pass it along to customers to gain traction more quickly from the get-go.
  • smartRewards is a tiered, frequent-seller program offering smartPartner members rebates based upon their Nebulon ON SaaS subscription sales. Using the traditional Silver, Gold, Platinum models, each tier offers differentiated levels of rebates. The more Nebulon ON software the reseller sells, the higher the tier, the higher the rebate.

Good news for customers too

What’s good for our channel partners is good for their customers too! Thanks to the smartPartner program, customers can take advantage of new technology sooner through their existing channel partners without the pain of bringing in a new vendor. Since Nebulon is simply an option in their favorite server, there are no new contracts or procurement headaches required to take advantage of smartInfrastructure.

Visit our smartPartner page to sign up and learn more about the program.

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Craig Nunes


Previously 3PAR VP of Product & Marketing, then HPE VP of Global Storage Product Management & Marketing.