VCE Unifies Channel Program, Continues Hiring Spree


Cloud storage infrastructure vendor VCE has introduced its first channel program and is continuing to beef up its channel ranks by hiring people from its parent companies.

VCE, which in 2009 was co-founded by EMC, Cisco, and VMware, has finally ditched its practice of depending on the channel programs of its parent companies and come up with one of its own, said Pete Koliopoulos, vice president of channel marketing.

VCE is the developer of Vblock Infrastructure Packages, a series of pre-configured, pre-tested storage solutions based on EMC’s Symmetrix or Clariion storage arrays, Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) and networking switches, and VMware's vSphere server and cloud virtualization platform.

The move to introduce its own formal channel program comes as VCE continues to grow its channel presence, Koliopoulos said. "In November of 2009, we had 12 partners," he said. "Now we have over 100 major customers and many others, plus over 120 partners worldwide."

The most important change for VCE's solution provider partners has been to offer them a unified channel program instead of depending on the programs of its parent companies, Koliopoulos said.

Even though VCE's Vblock systems are sold to customers as a packaged solution containing components from EMC, Cisco, and VMware, partners had been forced to place orders with each of those companies, Koliopoulos said. They were also forced to register customer deals with each of the three partners, and received discounts and rebates from them as well, he said.

Going forward, all orders from solution providers, including those received via distributors, will go through VCE, which is providing the solutions with VCE part numbers and warranties, Koliopoulos said.

The deal registration process will also be unified. "Now partners will register the deal with us," he said. "We've made it a lot easier. But the discounts will be similar to what they received from the three companies in the past."

Koliopoulos declined to discuss the deal registration discounts partners will receive via VCE, citing the need to finalize the details.

VCE is also offering partners a new unit volume discount incentive based on sales over a six-month period, Koliopoulos said. That discount is on top of any discounts they will continue to receive from the three parent companies, he said. "So if today a partner gets a back-end rebate from Cisco for a UCS sale as part of a Vblock, they will also get a rebate from VCE," he said. "Our rebates are stackable with parent company rebates."

Also new from VCE is its first MDF (market develop fund) program aimed at helping fund partners' demand generation activities, Koliopoulos said. "This is also incremental to whatever MDFs they get from the parent companies," he said.

The changes to the program mean a major relief from the challenges VCE solution providers face every day, said Jamie Shepard, executive vice president of technology solutions at ICI, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider and early VCE partner.

"VCE now has a support model second to none," Shepard said.

Having a single portal for purchasing Vblock instead of dealing with all three parent companies is a huge change, and can shave between three weeks and five weeks from a project, Shepard said.

Next: Big Changes At VCE With New Programs, Personnel