NetApp Introducing Channel Rules Of Engagement, New Entry-Level FlexPods

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Under the new Avnet partnership, an Avnet registration desk will ask channel partners a few questions about requirements and then use a configuration tool to select the right models and capacity in a few minutes, Yeary said.

"Partners get an immediate quote, and the solution can be shipped within 13 days," he said. "But if partners need custom configurations, they can still get it."

Lipsin told CRN that NetApp's other primary North American distributor, Centennial, Colo.-based Arrow Electronics, does not have such a capability. However, he said, NetApp is looking at new ways to invest in its Arrow relationship.

NetApp is already putting in play many of the things Lipsin talked about, said Kevin Goodman, managing director and a partner at BlueBridge Networks, a Cleveland, Ohio-based solution provider that both resells NetApp solutions and uses the vendor's technology to build its own BlueBridge cloud offering.

NetApp has been like a Swiss Army knife, with a whole bunch of different pieces that are cool but that most people can't use, Goodman told CRN. "But now NetApp is changing, and putting the pieces together," he said.

Goodman cited as an example NetApp's three-tiered flash strategy, which he said makes a lot of sense with the acquisition of SolidFire.

"SolidFire was a brilliant acquisition," he said. "We're very enthused about it. This kind of forward thinking is important for us. SolidFire will allow NetApp to compete with born-in-the-cloud flash storage startups."

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