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Hortonworks Hires VCE Channel Chief, Formalizes Partner Program

Christopher Sullivan

Christopher Sullivan

Hortonworks, the Hadoop and big data software provider, has hired former VCE Channel Chief Chris Sullivan as VP, global channels and alliances. Hortonworks will also launch a formalized Partnerworks partner program in February.

The Hortonworks moves come as multiple Hadoop companies formalize big data channel partner programs for ISVs, VARs, resellers and service providers. Rival MapR hired former Oracle executive Matt Mills as president and CEO in October 2015 as part of a partner push and potential march toward an IPO. MapR Chief Marketing Officer Jack Norris further described the partner effort in ChannelE2E Podcast 056. Meanwhile, Cloudera, another key Hadoop player, has been working with partners in a range of ways.

Recent CompTIA research suggests customers are unlocking lots of value from big data, but overall ChannelE2E believes VARs and MSPs are late to the big data discussion.

Enter Sullivan, Hortonworks Partnerworks

Still, there are signs of major progress for Hadoop — the big data storage grid technology — in the IT channel. Roughly 1,500 partners are working with Hortonworks — with Sullivan gearing up to recruit plenty more.

“We’ve got a great ecosystem but it’s a maturation process,” Sullivan told ChannelE2E. “This is a foundation for growth. It’s a strategic program for us.”

The program is organized to serve three types of partners. Hortonworks stated the following word for word:

  • ISV/IHV program enables independent software and hardware vendors to develop, test, certify, deploy and support joint solutions with Hortonworks’ products.
  • Consultant program is for consultants and system integrators that offer design, consulting and/or deployment services with Hortonworks’ Connected Data Platforms (Data in Motion: Hortonworks DataFlow, and Data at Rest: Hortonworks Data Platform)
  • Reseller program is for partners interested in reselling Hortonworks’ fulfilled support subscriptions and other services to their customers.

Hortonworks also is working with several large cloud service provides and managed services providers — examples include Microsoft Azure and Rackspace — to help drive the ecosystem forward.

Overall, Hortonworks has a solid global framework in place for the partner program. The company already has strength in the Americas and in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and investments are starting now in Asia, Sullivan added.

Measuring Hortonworks’ Partner Program Progress

Hortonworks and the overall Hadoop ecosystem have been in growth mode. But Wall Street has occasionally wondered if the Hadoop market will live up to expectations.

Tracking Hortonworks’ partner program progress should be relatively easy for established and emerging partners. The company is publicly held, with the next quarterly earnings announcement expected on February 23, according to Nasdaq.

We’ll be watching.

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