VCE Vice President Jumps Ship For Red Hat

VCE Vice President of Global Indirect Channels D. Robert Martin has jumped ship to join enterprise software maker Red Hat as vice president of North American partner sales in what solution providers are calling a major blow to the VMware, Cisco Systems, EMC private cloud converged system alliance.

Solution providers said Martin's move to Red Hat is a sign of cracks in the four-year-old VMware, Cisco and EMC alliance, and growing enterprise software momentum for Red Hat. Partners, in fact, said they are having a difficult time in the sales trenches with sales reps for the VMware, Cisco and EMC alliance sniping at one another.

"The industry's idea of converged infrastructure is changing," said one top solution provider executive, who has partnered closely with VCE and did not want to be identified. "VCE is becoming too complicated. It is too predefined."

[Related: EMC And Cisco: Co-Opetition Gone Wild In An Industry Used To Disruption ]

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"Martin bought a boatload of credibility to VCE," said the solution provider executive. "He is an A-plus player, a top-notch guy, a very strategic channel thinker. He is also an action guy. He is the guy that really made it happen for VCE from a channel perspective."

Martin, a 12-year Cisco channel veteran who took the top VCE job in December 2009, was not available for immediate comment. VCE said Chris Sullivan took over the company's channel chief post and global channels organization in the third quarter last year. VCE said Martin's most recent role was spearheading strategic initiatives for the indirect business, including channels, ISVs and systems integrators.

Jamie Shepard, regional and health systems senior vice president at Lumenate, a Dallas-based national solution provider and VCE partner, called the Martin hire by Red Hat a channel coup for the company.

"It's a great hire by Red Hat," Shepard said. "Red Hat Linux is going to be a mainstay enterprise-class operating system that will be at the heart of the software-defined data center. The data center is becoming applications-centric, and Red Hat is going to be there with Cisco."

Shepard sees Red Hat giving trouble to legacy enterprise-class operating systems from the likes of IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

Martin, whose title at VCE was vice president of global indirect channels, will now be responsible for driving channel sales strategy and execution in the North American market for Red Hat. That responsibility includes Red Hat developing relationships with resellers, distributors, independent software vendors (ISVs), system integrators (SIs), value-added resellers (VARs), original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and embedded, cloud and hosted infrastructure providers.