Cisco To Rebrand And Resell Opsware's NAS

The deal between Cisco, San Jose, Calif., and Opsware, Sunnyvale, Calif., to rebrand and resell Opsware&'s Network Automation System (NAS) as a Cisco product means that in practice, Opsware partners currently selling NAS will likely have to “step aside” if either Cisco&'s direct or indirect sales force competes against them for a NAS customer, said Opsware CEO Ben Horowitz.

Opsware&'s rationale for the deal is to leverage Cisco to substantially broaden the sales footprint of NAS technology, creating more NAS customers to upsell into Opsware&'s flagship product—the Opsware Server Automation System (SAS), Horowitz said. SAS is the embodiment of Opsware&'s overarching network automation ambitions and combines provisioning, change and policy management, and compliance, he said.

But only Opsware&'s direct sales force sells SAS, Horowitz said.

When it comes to selling NAS, “our preference would be to lead with the Cisco product,” said Brett Rushton, vice president of network infrastructure at Calence, a large solution provider and both a Cisco and Opsware partner in Tempe, Ariz.

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Rushton believes that the authority Cisco brings to NAS will make it easier to sell, and he expects sales of NAS—which have been moving at just under one per month over the past year—to significantly increase when Cisco releases its branded version in the coming months. Calence will continue to offer the original, Opsware-branded version of NAS, but it is still too early to tell which customers will require it, Rushton said.

NAS, which will help Cisco better compete with vendors such as BMC Software and Hewlett-Packard, is specifically designed to handle sprawling, complex networks composed of thousands of devices. The exact financial details of the deal are not being disclosed, Horowitz said.

Further development of new products between Opsware and the Cisco Network Management Technology Group also is part of the new distribution deal.

As for Opsware&'s existing relationships with Cisco competitors Juniper Networks, Nortel Networks and others, Horowitz said the Cisco deal “will improve those relationships.”