VMware, Cisco and EMC are relaunching their much–hyped private cloud coalition as a new company with a charter to work more closely with channel partners.
The new Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) Company, which includes the founding vendor’s original VCE coalition, unveiled in June 2009, as well as the Acadia joint venture launched by Cisco and EMC 14 months ago to sell VBlock private cloud building blocks, has a channel-focused sales strategy that will push pre-sales and post-sales support to the channel.
In fact, the new VCE Company in the next 45 to 60 days will launch its own channel program, said Pete Koliopoulos, vice president of global channel marketing and channel programs for the Dallas-based VCE.
VCE is also planning to offer a deal-registration program instead of forcing solution providers to register deals separately with EMC, Cisco and VMware, he said.
Also new for the channel will be specific list prices for the different Vblock configurations, a marked change for partners who were frustrated by the old business model under which all of the different components had to be priced separately by the three vendors, said Koliopoulos.
VCE also plans to offer specific rewards that solution providers will receive in addition to the channel program benefits they get from the individual VCE vendors. Finally, VCE will offer market development funds to help partners with demand generation.
Both Acadia and the original VCE were criticized by some partners as notoriously difficult to work with on private cloud design and deployment. In fact, it may have opened the door for channel-focused NetApp to score private cloud wins with its FlexPod architecture for virtualized environments in concert with Cisco and VMware.
Jamie Shepard, executive vice president of technology solutions at ICI, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider and partner to VCE, said the changes will greatly benefit partners.
The original VCE reference architecture was a real problem, Shepard said. "The vendors said, 'Here's the reference architecture, now go and build it,'" he said. Now, Shepard said, ICI looks at customer requirements, collects the necessary information related to a specific customer implementation and passes it to VCE.
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