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Cohesity Expands Partner Program, Adds New Service Provider Capabilities

In addition to welcoming cloud services providers and MSPs to its partner program, the program also got a big facelift highlighted by a new, free cloud-based hands-on lab that gives partners' qualified reps their own instance for training, demos, and proofs of concept.

Data protection technology developer Cohesity on Tuesday unveiled a huge expansion of its channel partner program, with a special emphasis on training.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cohesity also unveiled an expansion of its multi-cloud data protection services offering with capabilities for multi-tenant cloud service provider environments.

The partner program and technology enhancements are all part of Cohesity's commitment to serving customers via its channel partner community, said Todd Palmer, vice president of the company's worldwide channels.

[Related: The 20 Coolest Cloud Storage Vendors Of The 2018 Cloud 100]

Channel partners are vital to Cohesity's growth, and the company wants to help partners help continue that growth with high partner margins, improved services opportunities, new tools and resources, and increased partner incentives, Palmer told CRN.

"We have quadrupled the investment in our partner program," he said. "This is the largest expansion of our partner program. And there's a specific component for cloud services providers."

The last nine months have seen Cohesity build the components of the new program, with a special focus on a couple of key areas.

The first, Palmer said, is building out a comprehensive partner curriculum to help educate partners' sales, engineering pre-sales, and post-sales people get the certifications they need, Palmer said.

These include complete learning paths for partner personnel via on-line, instructor-led courses available to partners free-of-charge, he said. "We're asking partners to take a new look at secondary storage," he said.

The biggest change is the deployment of a full implementation of the Cohesity data protection technology on a third-party cloud as a partner hands-on lab, Palmer said. If a partner meets basic requirements, they get access to that lab, he said.

"It's a full-blown implementation of Cohesity in a third-party cloud," he said. "We are carving out an instance in that hands-on lab for each qualified partner employee. So now a partner can have multiple people, each with their own instance, that can be used for internal training, customer demonstrations, or proofs of concept."

Cohesity also wants to better help partners drive customer demand with a quadrupling of its investment in market development funds and partner development funds, Palmer said.

"With that, we are also letting partners use the partner portal to access information on specific campaigns such as hyper-converged infrastructure secondary storage," he said. "They can pick and choose what material to use, and then customize it as needed. Now, when we sit down with partners and the conversation moves to how to invest in Cohesity, we can say, 'Here are the materials and tools we provide, and here's how to use it.'"

Cohesity is also making a big enterprise push with extra incentives for partners who close deals with a list of 2,000 Cohesity-named accounts, Palmer said.

"If a partner can close business with one of those accounts, the partner rep and engineer can split up to $40,000 in benefits beyond the other benefits they would get from the deal," he said. "We have a list of those clients in each territory for the program which lasts through this fiscal year."

The new online, hands-on lab is a big deal for partners, said Mike Thompson, CEO of Groupware Technology, a Campbell, Calif.-based solution provider and Cohesity channel partner.

"The lab will expand the training program, and offer an accreditation program that differentiates partners," Thompson told CRN. "It's a way for us to get a return on our investment in the partnership. And it's unique in its way to help drive value to our mutual customers."

Having access to materials and tools via the partner portal is also important because of how quickly the market changes, Thompson said.

"Channel programs need to change with the market," he said. "Cohesity is listening to what partners are telling them about the market and the need to evolve."

Thompson also said free training is not always available, but is always appreciated by partners. "Some vendors go this way, but it's a mix," he said. "We seeing free training more and more, which is great for us."

For cloud service providers and MSPs, Cohesity is welcoming such partners into its expanded partner program as well as making a number of technical changes to its Cohesity DataPlatform offering, said David Kosman, head of global cloud service providers for the company.

The key change is big expansion of multi-tenancy capabilities, Kosman told CRN. "We've had some multi-tenancy before," he said. "But we've recently worked with partners to expand the platform with full service provider-grade multi-tenancy."

Cohesity has also added new chargeback capabilities, and is now providing integrated data protection for partners and customers using VMware vCloud Director, Kosman said.

Also new is a "Cohesity Powered" logo which qualified cloud service providers and MSPs can leverage as a way to build trust with clients, he said.

"We're really interested in going deep with a few partners rather than working with anyone," he said. "This is also true with the service provider business. We're looking to recruit partner organizations that have proven financial viability and who are technically competent."

The changes Cohesity are bringing to its service provider clients are important, Thompson said.

"The new capabilities will help us answer the requests of our clients," he said. "They show Cohesity has been listening to us. Cohesity is continuing to evolve and become part of a great partnership. I'm looking forward to more success in the future."

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