Kent MacDonald, vice president of Converged Infrastructure at solution provider and VCE partner Long View Systems, said he welcomes the new VCE Partner Program, and the fact that it recognizes partners based on the specific Vblock expertise they have. He also noted the similarities the new VCE program has to Cisco's partner program, in which Long View also participates as a Gold partner.
"There are certainly some similarities, if you look, specifically the Cisco channel program with the Gold and Silver naming conventions, so there's a lot of consistency there, which is great," MacDonald told CRN. "I think it also speaks to the maturity of VCE. The previous channel program really put everyone in the same bucket, and didn’t speak to the depth of your experience and the breadth of services. This [new program] is validation from VCE that they have vetted and stack-ranked partner abilities, and that's great."
The new VCE Partner Program also includes bulked-up partner training and sales enablement tools, prebuilt marketing campaign materials, lead and demand generation programs, and new technical resources, all of which, according to VCE, are designed to help partners grow their converged infrastructure business.
VCE partners, who once complained about numerous channel challenges associated with the Cisco-EMC-VMware joint venture, are starting to see things turn around. At the Cisco Partner Summit earlier this year, solution providers said VCE sales momentum is on the rise thanks to strong channel engagement under VCE CEO and 19-year Cisco vet Praveen Akkiraju.
VCE's sharper channel focus couldn't come at a better time for partners, with industry analysts anticipating a major jump in converged infrastructure adoption over the next few years. IDC, for its part, expects converged infrastructure solutions to drive more than $3 billion in annual sales in 2013, as more and more organizations seek out data center infrastructures that are easier to manage and can better support high-performance applications. IDC said it also expects converged infrastructure offerings to increase at a CAGR of 50 percent over the next five years.
VCE this week also unveiled a number of enhancements to its flagship Vblock converged infrastructure platform. Among them is the new Vblock System 340, an upgraded Vblock System 300 model that supports the latest compute, network, storage and virtualization technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware. Specifically, Vblock System 340 supports EMC's second-generation VNX storage array introduced this month.
VCE also launched the Vblock Specialized System for High Performance Databases and the Vblock Specialized System for Extreme Applications, which features all-flash technology and is designed to support latency-sensitive applications like virtual desktops.
Lastly, VCE rolled out an upgraded version of its VCE Vision Intelligent Operations software -- version 2.5 -- and the new VCE Cloud Accelerator Services, aimed at helping customers plan, build and implement scalable "as a service" cloud infrastructure environments.
PUBLISHED SEPT. 18, 2013