Cisco's Sherriff: Cloud, Competition And Who's Making The Calls

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It sounds like we're going to be seeing even more from Cisco on the cloud question this year. Is it on Cisco to clearly define how it wants various groups of partners to engage with each other on the cloud solutions, such as a reseller partnering with an infrastructure provider?

We are looking at how do we help accelerate those relationships with providers and resellers, and how can we take some of the friction out of the model. That's an area we haven't done a lot with and one where we think we can bring a lot of value.

So you see Cisco as having a key role in sorting that out? There's a lot of challenge right now around rules of engagement between cloud platform providers and the VARs that want to partner with them -- who's going to make money, where. How is it helpful for Cisco to have a role in that discussion?

One unique thing that Cisco brings is that we're highly trusted by multiple partner groups -- they know us to be very partner-centric. So we do have an opportunity to be a great marriage broker for those types of relationships.

The Unified Computing System has been a great story for Cisco. Is the number of Cisco partners certified to sell UCS increasing?

It has been a great story, and our growth there has been on two fronts with partners. One is that it's allowed loyal Cisco partners to expand their portfolios. They've made adjustments to expand their value proposition. But we've also strengthened our value proposition to traditionally non-loyal Cisco partners. We've had tremendous success with people that absolutely love our architecture because they've gotten exposure to it through UCS and find that they love our programs. So we have a newer set of partners as well.

Are you seeing consistent growth and wins in both the FlexPod and Vblock models of packaging UCS?

Absolutely. I think we're seeing the markets segment. We have customers that want a very tightly integrated stack, and those customers generally have a bias toward a Vblock. Other customers put a higher value on a loosely integrated stack, and the FlexPod model is better optimized for that customer. There is a natural segmentation for what partners can offer here.

And there's definitely room for all of those models of UCS selling?

I absolutely think there is.

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