What does the state and scope of the Dropbox / Hewlett Packard Enterprise partnership tell us about the former’s enterprise ambitions (and the latter’s desire to increase its appeal to customers with mobile use cases best served by the cloud)?
Well, it’s not like the Box / IBM partnership (announced last summer). There, Box went in deep and got its platform APIs in the Bluemix environment, region-specific storage on SoftLayer, and integrations with a spread of Big Blue’s ECM related technologies. And IBM got a consumer-savvy content sharing and collaboration platform to reach beyond its traditional heartland and across the extended enterprise.
In comparison, Dropbox’s relationship with HP Enterprise is more straightforward – but nonetheless it’s important to the company as it seeks to strengthen those enterprise credentials.
On one side of the deal, Dropbox wanted to move 90% of its formerly AWS-hosted content in-house, to make cost savings (by cutting out public cloud providers’ margins) and provide the opportunity for it to innovate on its own hardware for performance gains. It needed a technical partner to help with that… enter HPE, from which Dropbox bought custom servers to furnish its own datacentres.
Around the same time HPE, conveniently, was looking for a content storage solution for sync and share… and it’s now a Dropbox customer, with 100,000 employees using its services (and a useful case study in enterprise deployments).
But the deal also has brought HPE’s enterprise experience to bear on Dropbox’s go-to-market strategy, with the two companies now working together to promote Dropbox alongside HPE’s own services when pitching to enterprise customers.
It’s more of a cross-selling opportunity for Dropbox, than the promise of enterprise application integrations (à la Box/IBM), but it should open some doors to conversations where previously the cloud player had been seen as lacking enterprise credibility. And give HP’s Enterprise division a consumerised IT boost into the bargain.