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ZertoCON Partner Day 1: New Update Cadence, Professional Services on Tap

ZertoCON

Lorna GareyZertoCON — Zerto’s second ZertoCON kicked off Monday with a day dedicated to partners before the full expo launches on Tuesday. The program featured an opening keynote by company president Paul Zieter and dedicated sessions for both reseller and cloud service-provider partners.

“We want to be all channel,” said Zeiter, citing the experience many partners have had of a supplier redirecting a big-ticket deal to direct sales because someone needed to make quarterly numbers. “That will never happen at Zerto. We’re big believers in the channel. We invest in the channel. We will always be a channel company because our success has been built on the people in the room here.”

That strategy seems to be paying off. Zeiter announced significant growth, from 24 channel and 33 cloud service-provider partners in 2011 to the current roster of 1,700 partners and 350 CSPs across 77 countries. That’s average program growth of 126 percent annually.

Zeiter says the hypervisor-based replication provider has seen revenue increases with its CSP partners for 60 consecutive months. The typical deal size for partners is six to 10 times the cost of Zerto licenses. That’s a result of both new ecosystem deals – storage from HPE, Pure, Tegile and others play into the overall solution, as do Hyper-V or VMware hypervisor licenses and cloud from AT&T, AWS, Azure or other partners – and an effort by Zerto to move beyond its replication roots.

“We’re not just a replacement for your BC/DR solution that is old, long in the tooth and built for physical, not virtual environments,” he said. “Yes, that’s what we came in the market to disrupt. But we’ve broadened far past that in terms of the overall opportunity.”{ad}

Successful solution selling means helping partners move the discussion from disaster recovery to IT resiliency, says Zeiter. That conversation includes application mobility, ransomware protection, a cloud migration strategy and data-center modernization as well as data protection and BC/DR.

Sneak Peeks

Announcements for partner day include a formalized, certified professional services program set to launch in 2018; a more straightforward and streamlined release schedule, with codenames based now on single-malt scotches; and ongoing investments in product, sales and engineering. Last year, the company numbered just over 300. Now, there are 570 employees, and by year’s end executives say there will be 800.

General availability of the next iteration of Zerto Virtual Replication, version 5.5, code-named Balvenie, is expected in August. The engineering kickoff of the follow-on Cardhu begins in July.

Friends & Rivals

Event sponsors including Microsoft, AWS, Nutanix and Tegile set up in the hallway of the Hynes Convention Center in Boston’s Back Bay. Most are taking part in Zerto’s new ZAP Technical Alliance Program.

The alliances are billed as …

{vpipagebreak}

… helping partners to assemble complete solutions for application protection and mobility for customers’ public, private and hybrid cloud environments. In fact, Peter Kerr, Zerto’s director of global alliances, told Channel Partners that the goal is to become an abstraction layer between workloads and cloud platforms to eliminate lock-in, a selling point that most partners at the event say will be well received; more to come on that ambitious plan.

Many of the exhibitors, including Expedient, iland and Navisite, are CSPs, and Zeiter recommended that partners without existing relationships with cloud providers take time to make connections.

“Why?” he asked. “Because cloud is becoming ubiquitous. I don’t think you can have a single conversation with a customer these days that cloud isn’t top of mind.”{ad}

Zeiter assured attendees that Zerto is making investments, notably with Microsoft and AWS, to stay ahead of the competition. That bucket includes VMware’s native replication tools, and to an extent, backup provider Veeam, which held its own conference in New Orleans last week and, like Zerto, is making moves to offer a complete resiliency solution.

Zeiter closed by assuring partners that Zerto has no intention of being a point product, that it’s committed to a global strategy, and that it has their backs.

“The investments that you make into the business as partners? We will protect those investments and ensure you are making very good profits when you’re selling a Zerto solution,” he said.

Still, executives throughout the day stressed quality of partner relationships over quantity.

“Our strategy is not to go conquer the world and have Zerto on every single partner shelf,” Zeiter said. “We want to partner with those that we believe are willing to make investments along with us to drive business and be differentiators. I’m not looking for fulfillment channels.”

Follow editor in chief @LornaGarey on Twitter.


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