Imagine Expands Partnership With HP Enterprise For Large-Scale IP-Based Deployments

In April of 2015, Imagine Communications made news by announcing a new joint technology distribution agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), the commercial division of the major computer (and printers) maker, targeting large multi-distribution accounts in both the media/entertainment and corporate video space. It lent certain credibility to Imagine’s desire to be seen image as an innovator of IT/IP-centric solutions and promised access to new customers around the world.

The move was a part of Imagine Communications' previously stated plan to migrate its software products onto commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, like Hewlett Packard Enterprise's (HPE) servers and storage arrays. It also made a lot of sense to leverage HPE’s Communications & Media Solutions (CMS) systems integration services, to help build out the next generation of large multi-channel video delivery in a way that was both cost-effective and technologically sound for customers around the world.

After working successfully together on a number of projects over the past nine months, both in the U.S. and abroad, Imagine and HPE are expanding that relationship and have announced that they will collaborate more closely, giving HPE the ability to directly sell and install the entire portfolio of Imagine products, and vice versa.

“The original agreement we did with HPE last year was aimed at jointly selling to some of the larger accounts that we both share,” said Steve Reynolds, CTO at Imagine Communications, adding that they have also reached a similar agreement with Microsoft to jointly market their respective technologies. “It was a partnership agreement whereby we were going to collaborate on systems design and hardware design. Through the course of the first nine months of doing that, what we both recognized that there was a need for the two parties to collaborate more deeply.”

The new strategic partnership now gives HPE the ability to sell the entire portfolio of Imagine Communications’ playout, networking, distribution and ad management solutions portfolios, as well as products and intellectual property from HPE Software and CMS businesses. This includes Imagine’s Platinum routers, Nexio servers and Versio, an IP playout solution that is enabling media companies on multiple continents to relocate playout, master control and channel origination operations to cloud and other virtualized environments. So, instead of the two companies jointly designing and jointly bidding on large projects, now HPE can spec in any Imagine product and sell it.

It’s a reseller agreement with a systems integration component that’s unique in the industry. Historically, Imagine has used a lot of white label hardware for products like its Versio appliances and Nexio networked attached (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) arrays. With this new announcement, Reynolds said Imagine Communications is “setting a go-to-market strategy where all of our hardware-based products, anything based on COTS hardware, is going to be sold with HPE hardware.

“We’re also stepping up our efforts to closely collaborate with HPE’s technical and product development groups to optimize both our software and HPE’s hardware so that they perform to the highest level possible to support these media delivery applications,” Reynolds said. He also stated that there are a lot of advantages to the partnership for its current reseller network as well.

The new agreement also includes Imagine Communications’ CloudXtream portfolio, comprised of cloud-based solutions that enable enterprise-level service providers to introduce new and highly personalized services. The Imagine Communications portfolio includes capabilities for live, linear, on-demand, and cloud DVR (cDVR) video delivery models, and enables dynamic ad insertion (DAI) capabilities for any of those models. As an example, Imagine’s CloudXtream, paired with HPE storage and compute resources, will help service providers generate new revenue, extend reach to new consumers and devices, and realize dramatic operational savings and substantial storage optimization improvements.

“We believe that moving towards an IP infrastructure, where everything is built around common compute platforms, NAS and San storage, and IP networking is the inevitable future for the broadcast and media delivery industry because it brings the most efficiency, flexibility and reliability for the investment,” Reynolds said. “We came out with a plan three years ago to migrate our business to towards an IP-based development model running on top of COTS hardware and we continue to build upon it. That requires bringing in partners like HPE [and Microsoft] that have the skill, and experience and the platforms that all of this technology needs to run on. This expanded agreement with HPE is truly a case where the sum of our two companies is greater than the parts.”

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