Brocade Communications used its annual partner and user conference, held here this week, to unveil new certification initiatives for its solution providers and end users, as well as a new professional services relationship with several of its vendor and solution provider partners.
The moves come as SANs start to become mature products, said Steve Beer, director of product marketing at Brocade. "The environment is real, and now," he said.
The company unveiled its remote SAN lab, a fully configured SAN that can be accessed over the Internet to enable partners not located near Brocade's offices to take management and certification classes, said Beer. "They can do their homework, then get online to work with a real SAN lab," he said. "And we offer the toolsets to expand this into storage services."
Many of those classes will be taught locally and via the remote SAN lab by Global Knowledge, an IT training organization, Beer said. Global Knowledge is the worldwide provider of Brocade's new Brocade Certified SAN Manager certification, he said.
The new certification program, available to both solution providers and end users, is divided into three levels: certified fabric professional, certified SAN designer and certified SAN manager. "For resellers, with these levels of certification, they can go to customers and offer a degree of confidence," he said.
To beef up the professional services capabilities of partners working with Brocade-based SANs, the vendor also introduced its new Qualified Support Partner program, aimed at qualifying its most elite solution provider and vendor partners to provide services geared toward accelerating customers' migration to SANs.
Those services will include heterogeneous SAN upgrade and migration planning, on-site repair and replacement, and proactive support to worldwide SAN clients.
Hewlett-Packard was unveiled as Brocade's first Qualified Support Partner, but the program is open to any of Brocade's solution providers, said Beer. "As SANs move to enterprisewide deployments, we see lots of SAN islands throughout the enterprise," he said. "So the issue becomes, who becomes responsible for managing these heterogeneous environments?"