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Brocade on Tuesday launched a new program through which customers can acquire Brocade data center products via a monthly subscription.
The move, confirmed by Brocade alongside a new data center partnership with Avnet and updates to its Ethernet fabric and VDX switch product families, will give customers a way to scale their networking and data center resources larger or smaller with the most flexibility and cost savings possible, according to Brocade.
Under the subscription program, dubbed Brocade Network Subscription, Brocade customers pay for their network infrastructure on a monthly basis, and can adjust the level of acquisition as their network capacity expands or shrinks.
It's not the same as a lease arrangement, said Robert Grasby, solutions marketing group senior manager at Brocade, because there's no term limit, no risk for unused equipment and no capital lease agreement to note on a company's balance sheet.
"Customers pay for what they utilize," he said. "It's based on the number of ports they have in use and really allows them treat [IT acquisition] as an operating expense. They adjust it based on actual business needs rather than a theoretical timeline."
Some vendors have experimented with hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) models for similar means of letting customers procure network and infrastructure hardware as they need it. But it's not really a managed services option, Grasby said, it's a customer acquiring the necessary hardware he needs, paying for only that acquisition, and having the flexibility to do so outside of normal acquisition timelines, if he chooses.
"I'm shy on calling it hardware-as-a-service because it's not a fully managed hardware offering," Grasby explained.
Brocade is offering the subscription option through its Elite level partners, as well as select Federal government partners and global systems integrators. The deal threshold to qualify for subscription servicing is $500,000.
"Most of these engagements would become very project-based -- it's a custom design for a customer," said Barbara Spicek, Brocade's vice president, global channels. "For those partners that want to play a role in the cloud and actively offer customers a pay-as-you-grow model, with scalability, they can do this with Brocade."
The subscription service is available for all Brocade IP/Ethernet products, including Brocade's VDX family of data center switches. The service includes professional service support from Brocade Global Services.
In addition to Brocade Network Subscription, Brocade also confirmed an expanded relationship with distributor Avnet, through which Avnet will assemble and jointly market data center bundles using Brocade products with third party partner technology.
The validated solutions will include combinations of Brocade's Virtual Compute Block with data center products from vendors like Dell, Fujitsu and Hitachi Data Systems, leveraging VMware in the virtualization layer.
Brocade and Avnet have already developed a reference architecture and validated solution for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments. The first is a joint VDI solution leveraging an Intel server, VMware and Brocade products, which will be available to U.S. and Canada-based resellers through Avnet starting in November. "I've been hearing from partners and distributors that there's a strong belief the channel is the actual point of integration," Spicek said, describing the sale of data center architecture to customers.