Cisco, VMware and EMC coalition redesigns channel blueprint

The Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) company has returned to drawing board to design a reseller friendly go-to-market strategy that also involves distributors.

The Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) company has returned to drawing board to design a reseller friendly go-to-market strategy that also involves distributors.

The coalition was formed by Cisco, EMC and VMware in the summer of 2009 to punt private cloud building blocks dubbed Vblock and was later joined by Acadia, the venture between EMC and Cisco.

Yet with just five certified reseller partners in the UK including MTI, Computacenter, Novosco, Kelway and 2e2, along with eight accredited systems integrators, VCE has re-visited its channel blueprint to spur recruitment and sales.

Richard Flanders, product marketing director at MTI said a programme is in the offing that includes deal registration, allowing partners to log a deal once rather than individually with each vendor.

"I think VCE was slightly unclear about how the channel was going to work, there was some uncertainty about how impactful it was going to be on us as partners and they've clarified that now," he told MicroScope.

In a similar vein, a menu of pre-configured Vblock systems will be priced and packaged in a move away from the previous model under which the disparate components had to be priced individually.

"VCE is coming up with clear configurations. We have a much better understanding of which sets of customers will fit particular configurations," said Flanders.

In addition, certified partners will get specific business development funds to generate demand in the market and channel training programmes for sales, pre-sales and post sales reps.

Mike Rodwell, commercial director at Computacenter - which has a Vblock at is solution centre in Hatfield - said the changes should be lauded.

"Companies that invest in skills, training and proof of concept kit should be rewarded through a channel programme that fosters long term business relationships," he said.

Distributors are vying for a place in the VCE channel with Magirus currently locked in conversations with the firm.

Denise Bryant, UK and Ireland country manager at Magirus, said that hitherto the technical bar resellers needed to hurdle - Cisco ATP and EMC PSP badges - was high and it could help partners in that process.

Outside of the VCE fold, Manchester-based player ANS Group, has built its own Infrastructure 3.0 offering, comprised of Cisco UCS, VMware server and desktop virtualisation and NetApp's storage and deduplication kit.

Scott Fletcher, Chairman at ANS, said he continued to assess whether or not to get involved in the VCE alliance but voiced reservations that pre-configured bundles would commoditise the potential integration work.

"We are carefully reviewing how we potentially engage with VCE because by moving down the route of pre-packaged solutions it potentially devalues the work of the channel," he said.

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