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‘7 Minutes’ with HiveIO Co-Founder Kevin McNamara

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**Editor’s Note: “7 Minutes” is a feature where we ask channel executives from startups – or companies that may be new to the Channel Partners audience – a series of quick questions about their businesses and channel programs.**

HiveIO, the software-defined infrastructure provider, is leaning on the channel as it scales up.

The Hoboken, New Jersey-based company just announced a new U.K. partnership with distributor Arrow Electronics. The move expanded the market reach of the vendor’s recently announced hyperconverged fabric. HiveIO last month released its “AI-ready” Hive Fabric 7.0, which it says uses virtualization to manage the data center and more efficiently gather data.

HIveIO's Kevin McNamara

HIveIO’s Kevin McNamara

HiveIO takes its name from from Swarm Theory, in which an ant colony can create an architectural masterpiece when its members work in a number of different roles to achieve a unified result.

“The solution came from the deep expertise of our co-founders in banking IT combined with the software-centric approach of the world’s leading computing architectures,” the company writes.

Kevin McNamara, chief technology officer and head of channel sales for HiveIO, spoke to Channel Partners about his company’s new offering and its go-to-market strategy. He co-founded HiveIO in 2015.

Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about your product or service. What’s the secret selling sauce?

Kevin McNamara: HiveIO is dedicated to transforming commodity data-center equipment into a software-defined data center solution. Our latest release, version 7.0 of Hive Fabric, is the industry’s first zero-layer, hardware- and vendor-agnostic solution that provides high-performing, scalable technology designed to remove complexity from the data center. The artificial intelligence (AI)-ready hyperconverged fabric (HCF) solution delivers next-generation data-center management technology in a simple-to-deploy and easy-to-operate platform.

CP: Describe your channel program — metal levels, heavy on certifications, open or selective, unique features? Do you work with masters and/or distributors?

KM: We are focused on training and enabling a number of highly focused and disruptive partners in our core regions — North America and Western Europe. We offer innovative software that allows them to act as change agents for their customers, challenging traditional data-center solutions by offering truly differentiated technology. HiveIO offers rich, high-margin protected discounts while providing deep technical and commercial training to our partners.

CP: Quick-hit answers: Percentage of sales through the channel, number of partners, average margin. Go.

KM: Today, 100 percent channel-driven, circa 20 active partners and average margin 25-30 percent.

CP: Do you work with any master agents or distributors now? Is so, which ones, and if not, do you expect to establish these relationships?

KM: Yes, we work with Arrow in EMEA, Synnex in North America, and a number of regional value-added distributors.

CP: Who are your main competitors, and what makes your offering better?

KM: HiveIO plays in the same arena as cloud compute vendors in the private cloud, specifically any vendor that hosts and manages VDI, VSI and HCI storage. We differentiate by providing a full-stack software solution, offering everything a customer needs to power their data center in a single Hive Fabric platform. This allows customers to strip out layers of hardware and software bloat that comes with traditional converged and hyperconverged platforms. Unlike our competitors who force a hardware refresh and generally lock customers into propriety hardware, HiveIO solutions run on top of existing or new commodity X86, meaning we can leverage a customer’s current hardware investment and refresh with commodity servers when needed. The result is dramatic simplification of the data center and capex/opex cost savings driven out of stripping away layers of hardware and software.

CP: How do you think your technology portfolio will change in the next three years?

KM: We believe our core Fabric proposition replaces the need for …

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