Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

While there’s a lot of interest in hyperconverged systems these days, the number of IT organizations with enough money on hand to fund a forklift hardware upgrade any time soon is fairly limited. For that reason, interest in software approaches to creating a hyperconverged platform that spans both new and existing IT infrastructure investments is starting to gain traction.

With the naming this week of Terry Cunningham as CEO of Springpath, the provider of hyperconverged software now has at the helm a CEO with a lot of experience in the channel and who has spent time at Evault, Seagate’s cloud storage and disaster recovery division, as well as at Veritas and Crystal Decisions. As CEO, Cunningham replaces Springpath co-founder Mallik Mahalingam, who will continue in his role as CTO.

Founded in 2012, the company emerged from stealth mode in February with the unveiling of the Springpath Data Platform, enterprise-grade software designed to enable standard servers hosting applications to store, manage and protect data reliably. Available on a subscription basis, the platform “brings public-cloud economics and maximum simplicity to enterprise data centers,” according to the company.

Market research firm Technology Business Research forecasts that the converged systems marketplace will generate $19 billion in annual revenue by 2018. Not nearly as clear is whether that will be accomplished using IT infrastructure built from the ground up as a hyperconverged platform or by using software to logically integrate servers, storage and networking.

In the case of the latter approach, there are two fairly compelling arguments to be made. The first is that servers, storage and networks tend to scale independently of one another. The second is that IT organizations don’t always like to buy servers, storage and networking products from the same vendor.

Cunningham said hyperconverged software is a natural for the channel because it puts the solution provider firmly in charge of the IT infrastructure solution. In contrast, it’s a lot easier for an IT infrastructure vendor selling a converged infrastructure platform to go around the solution provider, Cunningham said.

How Springpath next goes about evolving its channel program in the months ahead will be interesting to watch. One thing solution providers can count on is that, whatever the outcome, Springpath aims to make sure channel partners stay in charge of the ultimate solution, Cunningham said.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.