Cisco is backing the launch of the assurance packages with what Nirav Sheth (pictured), vice president sales and systems engineering in Cisco's global partner organization, calls the company's largest-ever investment in channel activation. The company, Sheth said, is investing "millions upon millions" of dollars to get the channel ready and able to help customers activate and operate the assurance systems, he said. The effort includes deal registration programs, as well as a migration incentive program for customer refresh deals. The company is also changing its Value Incentive Program rebates to better fit the software strategy. Partners will be rewarded a traditional rebate and will also get additional rebates and awards as customers activate the assurance software packages, he said.