Emulex Focuses On VARs As 10-Gbit Ethernet NIC Business Grows


Storage networking vendor Emulex this week unveiled a new channel program it expects will help its solution providers be better able to sell its fast-growing 10-Gbit Ethernet and its Converged Networking Architecture (CNA) product lines.

Emulex is currently the largest provider of 10-Gbit Ethernet network interface cards thanks to the strength of its sales of LAN-on-Motherboard (LOM) modules shipped with systems from such OEMs as Hewlett-Packard and IBM, said Howard Lo, director of Americas Marketing.

Emulex is also a top vendor of CNAs, Lo said.

A CNA is an adaptor card which can handle both Ethernet and Fibre Channel data, allowing the building of both Ethernet LANs and Fibre Channel SANs using a single adaptor. The Fibre Channel frames are encapsulated into Ethernet frames for sending over the CNA in a protocol called Fibre Channel over Ethernet, or FCoE.

While Emulex is doing very well with its FCoE product line, the company wants to make sure its channel partners champion its 10-Gbit Ethernet adaptors, said Shawn Walsh, vice president of marketing at the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based company.

"The Fibre Channel is reaching maturity, and when many people think Emulex, they focus on FCoE," Walsh said. "As customers get into network convergence, if you don't win the NIC (network interface card) business, you can't win the market."

Emulex is looking to build on its success in its 10-Gbit Ethernet card and its OEM business to increase its business through solution providers, Walsh said.

"Sixty percent of our OEM revenue comes from channel partners," he said. "One of the things we're working on is how to extend our reach into the IBM, Cisco, HP, and other partner communities."

Emulex is hoping a refresh of its channel program will be a good start.

The company starting this week has doubled the SPIFs on its adapter cards to up to $50 per card, depending on the configuration, Walsh said.

It has also implemented a new claims processing system to help partners get their rebates faster, and is also speeding up deal registration rebates. For partners who grow their sales volume, Emulex is also increasing incentives by 3 percent to 5 percent, he said.

Also new is Emulex Expert, a revamped online training system which adds a technical track to the original sales track, and provides training modules for gaining expertise in 10-Gbit Ethernet and VMware environments, and for optimization in Oracle, Exchange, and SQL environments, Walsh said.

Emulex also added a new fourth tier, Connect+, to its channel program. Connect+ provides additional discounts to partners who drive higher volume sales of the company's 10-Gbit Ethernet products, he said.

Emulex also wants to make it easier for solution providers to communicate with customers with the introduction of iConverse, an iPhone app which provides three or four bullet points which helps partners talk to customers depending on their requirements, such as if they are using VMware on IBM blade servers.

Also new is increased use of social media to communicate with customers, as well as new Linked-In communities including I/O Blender, which is an open forum for sharing best practices. "I figure that QLogic, Intel, Brocade, Juniper, and Cisco partners will join as well," Walsh said. "While we are hosting it, participating in it, we are not regulating the opinions out there."