Interop: D-Link Sets Sites Up-Market, Launches New Partner Program

D-Link wants to show the world and its channel that "this is not your $99 router sale."

And if Nick Tidd, D-Link's president for North America, has anything to say about it, D-Link will no longer be relegated to midmarket, SMB and SOHO implementations and will start breaking down the enterprise walls.

At Interop Las Vegas 2010, Fountain Valley, Calif.-based D-Link on Tuesday officially made its entrance into the chassis switch market. Meanwhile, D-Link launched an all new channel program to help partners better tackle D-Link's new offerings as it continues to swim up-market.

The D-Link xStack Chassis Series (DGS-8000) is D-Link's first chassis line of switches targeting core-to-edge applications in midsize to large enterprise networks. The line offers up to 160 Gbps full duplex line rate performance per slot; an array of modules with capacities of up to 48 Gigabit ports, including PoE; eight-port 10 Gigabit SFP plus modules with capacities of up to 64 10 Gigabit to offer; and all new I/O modules to support distributed MPLS and IP Flow Information Exchange without dedicated modules.

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The launch of a chassis line also marks D-Link's true entrance into the enterprise market, meaning it's ready to duke it out on the big stage with market leaders like Cisco and Hewlett-Packard (HP). Tidd said D-Link now offers an affordable alternative to the big boys by putting its stake in the enterprise ground.

"Is this the time we're ready to pick a fight? You bet," Tidd said. "We're ready to pick the fight."

Tidd continued: "I'm not living in a dream world. I know I'm late to market." But, he added, the launch of a chassis series will better integrate and tie together D-Link's other offerings, whether it be storage, IP surveillance or wireless.

And to help partners fight the fight against the incumbents, D-Link also launched its new VIP (Value in Partnership) Partner Program. According to Tidd, the VIP Program adds new certification, deal registration, business collaboration and a bounty rewards benefit that gives partners a percentage of a registered deal even if that deal is ultimately lost. Tidd said the new VIP program will help partners capture more market share will driving services to their customers and arm them with the benefits to go after a new set of enterprise customers.

"We basically just dropped a grenade on the other one," Tidd said of D-Link's old partner program.

D-Link first hinted at the revamped partner program last September, just months after the company brought Tidd aboard to give its partner program a well-needed makeover.

The program facelift, Tidd said, offers partners access to demo product, financing options and joint selling opportunities. Partners are also eligible to participate in other programs.

Tidd said D-Link wants an "understanding of how can our partners a) make money and b) be profitable selling our solutions," and the VIP Program will enable that. The new program, he said, is designed to reward partners who take the chance on an alternative like D-Link and preach its value-consciousness.

"I'll remove the barrier of cost to entry and I'll reward you," he said.

NEXT: D-Link Details VIP Program, Adds More Product

As part of the program D-Link has released online, on-demand training and development tools for partners to learn and boost their knowledge around selling, installing and supporting D-Link gear. Meanwhile, D-Link launched a pair of certifications to recognize partners that achieve certain levels of technical and sales expertise. The new certs are the D-Link Certified Specialist (DCS) and Certified Professional (DCP).

Another new facet of the VIP program is D-Link's Volume Incentive Rebate (VIR), a rebate intended to reward partner performance and investment by supporting business building and revenue-generating activities.

And D-Link VIP Deal Registration gives eligible partners new discounts for deals that are successfully closed after being registered and approved via D-Link's Partner Portal. In addition, the Bounty Program offers protection for partners who have invested time and effort on a deal that was subsequently lost.

The chassis launch and the unveiling of the new partner program all fall into D-Link's Interop Mythbusters theme, based on the popular TV show.

"Let me dispel the myth of what we're about and how we can assist you with the networking needs in the enterprise," Tidd said.

Along with launching the D-Link xStack Chassis Series and the VIP Program at Interop, the company also launched a pair of other enterprise-ready products.

First, D-Link launched the DSN-5000 Series of xStack SAN Arrays. The storage offerings deliver high-availability configuration, free firmware upgrades, and system virtualization. They come in three flavors: the DSN-5110, which offers four Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) ports per controller; the DSN-5210, which offers eight GigE ports per controller; and the DSN-5410, which offers one 10 GigE port per controller. The new arrays are designed to optimize disk-to-disk backup, archiving, video surveillance and other key applications.

D-Link also unveiled the L2+ Unified Wired/Wireless Gigabit Switch, a unified switch and access point combination offering mid-to-large enterprises and service providers the ability to manage up to 64 D-Link Wired Unified 802.11n Access Points and up to 256 DWL-8600 access points in a switch cluster.

Despite eying new opportunities in larger customers, Tidd said D-Link's bread and butter customer and partner bases need not worry. And existing partners won't suffer because the new program is not revenue based, so traditional D-Link partners will still be rewarded.

"We'll never abandon our core, it's the core that got us to where we are," he said.