Extreme, Enterasys Formalize Joint Partner Program, Expect Big Channel Growth Ahead

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Extreme Networks Wednesday rolled out a channel program that formally joins its partner base with that of networking vendor Enterasys, which it bought less than a year ago for $180 million.

The new program, called the Extreme Partner Network (EPN), is designed to boost partners' services revenue and sweetens Extreme's deal registration and partner incentive programs.

"We put these two companies together in November and in seven months we have completely integrated the two organizations," said Theresa Caragol, vice president of global channels at Extreme. "So we have officially been one company for a while now but, for the partners, we are launching our unified Extreme Partner Network."

The new program joins the legacy Enterasys and Extreme partner bases, which had been operating separately under their respective programs up until now. The Extreme Partner Network, according to Caragol, will simplify the partner sales process, with a single distribution network, a combined product portfolio and a combined partner segmentation and rewards system.

Caragol said the combined Extreme and Enterasys partner base consists of 2,700 solution providers globally and 1,400 in North America.

Extreme and Enterasys partners largely cheered the merger last year, which effectively doubled Extreme in size and, according to some analysts, catapulted the San Jose, Calif.-based company to the No. 4 spot in the global Ethernet switching market. Solution providers told CRN that the two companies' product portfolios, for the most part, complemented each other well and that they expected minimal overlap between the two sets of products.

Ed Waldroop, co-founder and CEO of Personal Computer Systems (PCS), a Louisville, Tenn.-based solution provider, said this has definitely been the case. Although Enterasys had always been strong in areas such as wireless, the acquisition helped PCS broaden its reach into network management and other markets where Extreme has traditionally thrived, he said.   

"The combination of the companies has really broadened the product line and enhanced it for us," Waldroop, a legacy Enterasys partner, told CRN. "I think it's been a fabulous combination and merging of the two companies."

Under the Extreme Partner Network, partners will be segmented into four tiers: Diamond, Platinum, Gold and Silver. Partners will be placed into these tiers based on both their sales volumes and the number of Extreme pre-sales certifications they hold.

Extreme said the annual sales volume commitments for North American partners are $2 million for Diamond partners, $1 million for Platinum partners and $500,000 for Gold partners. There is no volume requirement for Silver partners.

Extreme is offering three types of pre-sales certifications: the Extreme Sales Professional (ESP), the Extreme Design Professional (EDP) and the Extreme Solution Engineer (ESE). To reach Diamond status, North American partners must hold at least three of each of these certifications. At the Platinum level, they must hold at least two of each and at the Gold level they must hold one of each.

Silver partners are not required to attain any pre-sales certifications, but they are listed in Extreme's online partner locator if they hold at least one ESP and one EDP.

All certifications can be achieved either through a free in-person or online training, Caragol said.

NEXT: Extreme's New Partner Services Programs

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