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VCE this week rolled out a series of Vblock enhancements along with a newly designed partner program aimed at helping solution providers cash in on what the company called "tremendous growth" in the converged infrastructure market.
The new program, dubbed the VCE Partner Program, has a tiered partner structure, revamped incentives and a new set of partner specializations around VCE's Vblock converged infrastructure offerings.
D. Martin, vice president of global channels at VCE, said these new specializations and tiered structure represent a major shift in how VCE views and segments its partners. Under its previous channel program, VCE's partner recruitment and enablement efforts were focused narrowly on solution providers who held high-level certifications from EMC and Cisco, the tech giants who founded VCE back in 2011.
"It made sense," Martin told CRN. "Those were the partners with the highest levels of capabilities."
VCE's new specializations, however, shift the focus to solution providers' experience selling and offering services around Vblock, Martin said. The first of the new specializations is for Vblock deployment and implementation services. "We provide partners with solution guides and best practices for Vblock deployment," Martin said.
The second specialization is around Vblock management, aimed at partners who manage customers' Vblock deployments and their system life cycles. "We see this as a big opportunity for partners who have people on the customer site handling the management," he said.
VCE also introduced two new solutions specializations, including VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) on Vblock, and messaging and collaboration with Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange.
Still to come in the first quarter of 2014 will be specializations focused on SAP HANA, Oracle and data protection, Martin said.
Depending on their experience, solution providers may be able to test out of classes to get the specializations. "I don't want to waste partner time on things they already know," he said.
The new VCE Partner Program segments partners into different tiers, based on the type and number of specializations they hold. The lowest end of the three tiers is VCE's Authorized tier, which includes about 200 partners worldwide, most of which are focused on midmarket customers. Next is the Silver tier, which includes roughly 50 VCE partners focused predominantly on the larger midmarket to smaller enterprise markets. The highest-level Gold tier, Martin said, is housing about 20 enterprise-focused partners.
Partner rewards and incentives -- including a 2 percent to 5 percent rebate on top of the rebates solution providers already get from EMC and Cisco -- vary based on tier. At the Gold level, for instance, partners are eligible for co-funding of engineering resources as well as for targeted marketing programs, Martin said.