Cisco Storage A Specialty

The moves, to be detailed in the next six to eight weeks, follow the company's formation of a storage VAR council during last month's solution provider summit in Hawaii, despite the fact that Cisco does not work directly with storage solution providers.

Solution providers that sell Cisco MDS 9000 series SAN switches get them from OSMs,or OEM storage manufacturers,such as EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Network Appliance and XIOtech.

Engaging Efforts Of The Channel


Cisco makes moves:

>> Storage VAR council established at summit last month.
>> SAN switch resellers can add storage to credentials.
>> Initiatives offered to Veritas software partners.

Cisco is planning to allow storage solution providers and resellers of its IP switches to add storage as a specialization to their resumes, said Edison Peres, vice president of advanced technologies in Cisco's worldwide channel organization.

Cisco solution providers currently can qualify for a number of specializations that identify to customers their technical ability with Cisco products, and can qualify for Premier, Silver or Gold program status. "They give partners marketing credential," Peres said.

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The storage specialization allows current Cisco solution providers to get established in the storage market while giving those not working with Cisco the opportunity to do so, Peres said.

Cisco also plans to introduce the Advanced Technology Provider program for solution providers that build solutions based on software from Veritas and are not dependent on storage arrays from OSMs. Such a move will become increasingly important for Cisco as Veritas brings its software into Cisco SAN switches in the wake of a strategic agreement the two signed last November, Peres said.

John Orr, president of Stack Computer, an Irvine, Calif.-based enterprise solution provider and Cisco partner, said the specialization program is essential for Cisco, especially if Cisco expects the vendor and its partners to be successful with storage switches.

"We told them, 'Guys, it's essential that partners have the skill set to do it right,' " Orr said. "The product goes out with the Cisco brand name on it. If there are any problems, customers will think it's a Cisco problem."