By Steven Burke on April 17,2017 on CRN.com
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Monday completed its $1 billion acquisition of all-flash superstar Nimble, opening the doors for its partners to play a bigger role in the disruptive all-flash market.
“We looked at the Nimble solution and thought it was amazing,” said Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., solution provider. “We’re looking forward to partnering with HPE to bring it to our customers. It’s a home-run solution for HPE. This was a big piece of the high enterprise market that HPE was missing. They just grabbed a big piece of the all-flash market.”
HPE has 5,000 partners in North America with a partner program that has long been considered best in class, while Nimble has just 450 partners in North America with a partner program that is just two years old.
HPE has said there is less than a 15 percent overlap between the two companies partner bases. Nimble – which grew its annual sales by 25 percent to $402 million in the most recent fiscal year — does the majority of its business in the U.S.
HPE has said the “priority” is to scale Nimble’s business outside the U.S. with an aim to leverage its strong channel partnerships across the globe.
Goldstein said he sees HPE staking out the enterprise hybrid IT high ground. “HPE wants to be the ‘Mercedes Benz’ of high-end, enterprise hybrid IT,” he said.Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 167 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500, said he is anxious to evaluate the Nimble value proposition for HPE partners. “I’m looking forward to seeing how disruptive this deal is in terms of both technology and partner economics,” said Venero. “All-flash is no doubt the best way to go from a speed and performance perspective.” While the overall storage market is declining, the all-flash market is expected to double over the next three years from $3 billion to $6 billion, according to HPE. In the most recent quarter, Nimble grew its sales at a 70 percent clip. The acquisition is HPE’s fourth this year as it moves quickly to grab the most disruptive technologies aimed at providing HPE technology leadership in the hybrid cloud market. The deal comes even as HPE recently completed its $650 million acquisition of hyper-converged provider SimpliVity forces competitors like Cisco, Lenovo and Huawei – which had teamed with SimpliVity — to alter their hyper-converged path. The Nimble acquisition is going to have the same kind of market reverberations with HPE expected to end the Nimble relationship with Lenovo and Cisco. “What HPE is doing with recent acquisitions is trying to build a much stronger platform, leveraging its partner ecosystem to help bring those technologies to market,” said Venero. “What we have to look at is how do the new deals stand up from both a technology and ease-of-doing-business perspective.”
HPE Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise Group Antonio Neri told CRN last month  that the deal will accelerate Nimble’s sales growth and open more enterprise doors to the Nimble all-flash line. “Moving upmarket into the enterprise with us will make it much easier for them [with] access to our go-to-market, connecting to new technologies like HPE Synergy, and our compute portfolio,” he said.