Cisco updates cloud and MSP programme

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Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) has introduced a number of changes to simplify its Cloud and Managed Services Programme (CMSP).

The vendor says it has re-worked the programme to enable cloud providers to participate in Intercloud, first announced at last year’s Partner Summit as a way to build “the world’s largest global network of clouds”.

It has replaced the hierarchical Master, Advanced and Express levels with just two types of partner: Cloud and Managed Service Provider and Intercloud provider.

“When we started the CMSP programme, there was a need for us to distinguish between partners that had more expertise or less expertise. We’ve decided now it’s time to simplify, so there’ll be one level in the Cloud and Managed Services role, and it’s going to be specifically targeted at the higher end of the advanced spectrum,” explains Steve Benvenuto, senior director of business development for Cisco’s worldwide partner organisation.

Cisco says partners can choose the Cisco Certified Architecture that best fits their business and offer managed, cloud, or Intercloud services.

“You can be a Cloud and Managed Service Provider or an Intercloud partner, or you can be both,” MD of UK partner and commercial sales, tells Channel Pro. “You can have a massive investment in cloud and choose not to be part of the Intercloud opportunity, or you do both. It’s the role that you choose; we don’t force it on you.”

Cisco has also reduced the annual audit cycle from every year to every three years, and the requirement for one mandatory CCIE personnel has been removed altogether.

“Partners were saying a one-year audit was too frequent, ‘you’re auditing us on a lot of the same things’, so we’re moving to a three-year audit cycle, which has been well-received by partners,” says Benvenuto.

Elsewhere, current Cloud Services Reseller and Managed Services Reseller roles have been mainstreamed into Cisco Resale Certification as part of Hybrid IT requirements and the Cloud Builder will continue as a Specialisation under the Resale Programme.

Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Providers offer ‘Cisco-Powered’ cloud services over any Cisco Cloud Architecture and/or managed services over a Cisco Reference Architecture. Current providers can become a Cisco Powered Services provider by meeting new requirements, which are lower than the previous requirements to become a Master Provider.

Cisco Intercloud Providers must implement either Cisco Intercloud Technologies (Intercloud Fabric and Application Centric Infrastructure) on their infrastructure or Cisco virtual Managed services (vMS) architecture to deliver Cisco-Powered services to customers. Cisco says some of these Intercloud Providers may be invited to implement the Cisco Intercloud Stack and participate as a node in its global cloud. These partners will sign an Alliance agreement with the vendor.

Cisco says it’s providing a transition period of 12-24 months, depending on the partner’s audit date. Master Service Providers will roll over into the Cisco Powered Services provider role and will be recognised as Intercloud Providers when they implement Intercloud technologies into their infrastructure.

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Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.