Brocade rewards channel for convergence and cloud expertise

All in the cloud

Brocade has updated its channel programme to reward partners who invest in new technology specialisations covering virtualisation, network convergence and cloud computing.

In an important change, partnership level is no longer tied to absolute revenue. This innovative model means smaller partners that invested heavily in training can obtain Elite status, and corresponding benefits, even with relatively modest sales.

The firm has also committed to fund free training courses, both online and at Pearson/Vue centres across the UK. Premier and Select partners who train up to Elite through specialisation and growth targets can improve margins and earn additional rebates.

“We are market share aware,” comments Barbara Spicek, vice president of Worldwide Channels at Brocade. “We want our partners to represent us, we want to challenge the status quo. We are the absolute leader in SAN and we want to lower the barriers of entry for our channel to partner to help them succeed.”

Since taking over running the Brocade channel two years ago, Spicek has helped strengthen the channel programme with a better defined structure and more support for partners with features such as exclusive deal registration and recognition of OEM product sales.

Earlier this year, Brocade introduced a new Network Infrastructure Specialisation for partners offering both its SAN and IP/Ethernet products and a new Data Center Infrastructure specialisation. Early next year, Brocade will announce new Application Delivery and Virtualised Fabrics specialisations. Brocade will also “fast track” Cisco-certified professionals across certain elements of its certification process as it shares a common command-line interface with Cisco through its Foundry product line.

The firm has also added several new features to its MyBrocade Web portal including a Mobile Application to access to sales tools, program information and updates. A new marketing Resource Center allows partners to create customised promotional items, communications vehicles and demand generation campaigns. Early next year, the firm will add a Product Configuration Tool to allow partners to quickly configure Brocade solutions and provide customers quotes.

Finally, the firm has updated its MDF programme to allow partners to use funds for a broader range of activities, including customer recruitment, sales enablement, promotion, the acquisition of demonstration equipment and certifications. This new MDF program is open to Distributor, Elite and Premier Partners.

Brocade has 5 Elite, around 12 Premier and approximately 20 to 30 Select partners served by distributors Avnet and TD Azlan. Although Brocade is keen to support existing partners, Spicek admits that the firm is likely to grow its channel by around 20% over the next year.

ITPro comment:

Brocade has seen the writing on the wall when it comes to end- to-end networking. Its impressive SAN market share is not enough to sustain it over the long haul; it needs to expand its IP/Ethernet footprint. On paper its channel programme is pretty impressive. The product set, with the addition of Foundry, is on par with HP and most of the Cisco portfolio. Most importantly, as both its rivals try and own every aspect of the datacenter, Brocade is increasingly becoming the choice for partners who would rather not have HP or Cisco in bed with their customers. Its SAN legacy has given it a trusted brand and an installed customer base that the channel can go back to with an impressive convergence story.