Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has bumped itself from major Salesforce.com (CRM) customer to strategic partner after an announcement during Salesforce.com's quarterly earnings call. The two companies will be working together on Salesforce Superpod, which they described as a dedicated instance within the Salesforce multi-tenant cloud that will run HP's Converged Infrastructure.

The companies will jointly develop and market the offering, so it seems like there may in time be some channel opportunities for partners of both companies. Additionally, HP also plans to be the first customer using Superpod, putting it on both sides of the fence and giving the tech giant extra incentive to ensure the solution is developed to the specifications of the world's largest enterprises.

"The Salesforce Superpod will allow individual customers to have a dedicated instance in the Salesforce multi-tenant cloud, powered by HP's technology and fully managed within Salesforce.com's world-class data centers," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, in a prepared statement.

Meg Whitman, president and CEO of HP, spoke to trends around cloud, mobility and Big Data as driving factors for "a new style of IT" that is transforming what enterprises both expect and need from the technology they use every day.

"By jointly developing and using each other's technology, the Salesforce Superpod will deliver the highest standard in performance, reliability and management. HP intends to be the first customer of the Salesforce Superpod," Whitman said in a prepared statement.

Superpod will be available to Salesforce.com's existing customers for an additional fee.

It will be interesting to see how the sales end of Superpod plays out. The companies noted they will work together to sell the cloud service. Channel partners weren't mentioned, but it seems that partners may play some role in the go-to-market strategy. For some of the large enterprises HP and Salesforce.com are targeting, though, there's a very good chance some of the sales strategy will be focused on direct sales.