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HP (NYSE:HPQ) has created a channel partner program for cloud computing designed to enable all of its indirect channel partners to capitalize on the growing cloud computing opportunity, the company announced at its Discover conference today.

The new HP CloudAgile program spans the entire HP enterprise portfolio of products, including CloudSystem, HP’s cloud platform launched earlier this year and received some enhancements at HP Discover. HP said it plans to use the CloudAgile program to incent its internal sales teams to collaborate with its more than 143,000 channel partners around the world on getting cloud infrastructure and services deployed, according to Steve Dietch, vice president of cloud solutions and infrastructure at HP.

Those partners will play a key role in delivering the estimated $143 billion in revenue generated  by cloud services by 2013. Partners of all types, from VARs and systems integrators on up to the largest telecommunications companies in the world will enjoy plenty of opportunities in cloud going forward. HP’s plan is to enable such partners.  Several partners are already signed up for CloudAgile, from large telcos to SMB-focused MSPs and newcomers to the cloud space.

“We’re expanding recruitment. It’s a global program, and it’s one program for Hewlett-Packard in the enterprise space,” Dietch said.

The program will give channel partners direct access to HP’s inside sales teams in an effort to maximize the number of cloud opportunities and get deployments started as soon as possible.

HP is also counting on its new CloudSystem “dual bursting” capabilities and new cloud services to help itself and its partners bring cloud computing to customers of all sizes.

“We’re going to allow customers to dynamically provision and harness IT resources, bursting and grabbing them from an external service provider or actually because there are security or compliance concerns, they’ll be able to burst internally, as well, going to grab both on a pay-as-you-go basis,” Dietch said. As has been said by so many cloud advocates in the last couple of years, the goal is to move customers from capital spending to operational expenditures when it comes to their data storage and applications.

HP’s news is a positive sign for channel partners facing an uncertain world as many vendors opt to go direct with cloud services. But analysts say the direct approach for the cloud is a mistake.

“Early indication is that many IT service providers – equipment vendors, software vendors and cloud providers – are bypassing the indirect channel in the initial sale and, in some cases, are billing end users,” wrote Gartner Vice President Tiffani Bova in a recent research report. “This could work if the end user requires only a single service and if there are no integration issues. But the reality is that most enterprises will use many cloud services, and integration and vendor management issues will be very real.”

HP is also getting into the cloud service space with cloud-based security services. The Vulnerability Scanning Service, which assesses what is in a network environment and assures appropriate patches and updates are applied,  and the Vulnerability Intelligence Service, which identifies new updates and patches, and then makes priority recommendations, are now available, and they’ll be sold through the channel, as well as direct. Actually, according to Michelle Weiss, vice president of technology service marketing at HP, the services aren’t exactly new. HP has been offering them directly for years, but now they’re being offered externally through channel partners as well.

However, when asked about conflicts with its own channel in bringing its own cloud services to market, Weiss said to “stay tuned” for more about the delivery model of the cloud-based security services.

“Channel partners obviously are incredibly important to Hewlett-Packard and incredibly important to the cloud services,” Weiss said.

It looks like HP partners will have to wait to see whether HP will be enabling or competing with its own channel. As mentioned several times by executives at HP Discover, more than 50 percent of HP’s revenue comes through the channel, but that still leaves a rather large amount of direct sales.

HP also announced version 2.0 of its HP Cloud Services Enablement for Communications as a Service (HP CSE for CaaS), which is geared towards communications service providers and helps them to bring pay-as-you-go CaaS to SMB customers.

There is a steadily increasing demand for communications services, particularly in emerging markets and with SMBs, said David Sliter, vice president and general manager for communications and media solutions at HP.

CaaS 2.0 will be available at the end of the second quarter. It will include three new service bundles that service providers can offer to their customers.

HP’s financing arm hasn’t forgotten its cash-strapped customers. The company also used HP Discover to announce $2 billion in financing to help customers get to the cloud, as well as a host of new infrastructure products to take its Converged Infrastructure strategy to the next level.