Riverbed Revamps Partner Program, Focuses On Technical Certifications

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Riverbed Monday rolled out a redesigned partner program that includes a value- rather than volume-based rewards structure and categorizes partners not on their Riverbed sales but on their ability to earn a new set of Riverbed technology certifications.

The new program, which goes into effect Jan. 6, also is meant to nudge partners beyond Riverbed's flagship WAN optimization portfolio and toward its growing line of storage delivery and performance management products.

"We have expanded significantly over the last five years, in terms of moving beyond just a network performance, bandwidth optimization and acceleration principle to one of an overall performance solution," said Randy Schirman, senior vice president of worldwide channels at Riverbed, San Francisco. "And we needed to ensure that, as our end users were evolving and Riverbed was evolving, that we were evolving our partner community as well."


[Related: Riverbed Accelerates Steelhead WAN Optimization Appliance With RiOS 8.5]

The new Riverbed partner program will no longer rank the company's 2,100 worldwide partners as Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond. These designations, which were based exclusively on partners' sales volumes, are being replaced by a new set of partner categorizations: Authorized, Premier and Elite.

Partner discounts range between 10 percent at the lowest-end Authorized level and 45 percent at the highest-end Elite level. Other benefits, such as deal registration, also are based on partner ranking.

"The idea here is that, with a value-based model, the more you, as a partner, invest in Riverbed, the greater ability you have to separate yourself from the masses in terms of your stature, your profitability, the benefits and rewards, and the strategic alliance Riverbed places on you as partner," Schirman said.

Whether partners fall under the Authorized, Premier or Elite status is determined by the number of Riverbed technology certifications, or "competencies," that they earn. To start, Riverbed is offering four partner competencies: WAN Optimization, Storage Delivery, Application Delivery and Performance Management.

The new competencies reflect Riverbed's efforts to diversify its traditionally WAN optimization-focused product portfolio over the past few years. In October 2012, for instance, the company grew its application performance management footprint with its $1 billion acquisition of APM specialist Opnet Technologies.

Riverbed said the WAN Optimization competency focuses on its flagship Steelhead products, while the Storage Delivery competency focuses on its Granite portfolio, and the Application Delivery and Performance Management competencies focus on its Stingray and Cascade portfolios, respectively.

To earn the Elite status, partners are required to hold a minimum of three Riverbed competencies and pull in at least $5 million in Riverbed sales annually. Elite is the only partner level that has a bookings requirement, according to Riverbed.

NEXT: Riverbed Partner Training, Other Program Details

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