Cisco starts SAN specialisation

Networking giant Cisco plans to accelerate its storage switching prowess even further after adding an additional storage area networking (SAN) specialisation to its channel partner programme.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  July 5, 2004

Networking giant Cisco plans to accelerate its storage switching prowess even further after adding an additional storage area networking (SAN) specialisation to its channel partner programme. “The SAN market is going through a major transition driven by customer demand for SAN fabric consolidation, improved business continuance and disaster recovery,” said Andrew Elder, director of operations, channels and marketing for Russia, Middle East and Africa at Cisco. “This market transformation requires qualified channel partners to serve an expanding role, representing a tremendous opportunity for the channel,” he adds. “Our storage networking specialisation will help our channel partners develop the knowledge and skills to further accelerate customer adoption of Cisco intelligent SAN solutions.” The new specialisation offers partners a training roadmap and verification process to ensure they have the skills and expertise to plan, design, implement and support SAN solutions based on Cisco kit. Cisco’s MDS 9000 SAN switching product family is primarily distributed through Cisco original storage manufacturers (OSMs) — third party storage vendors pushing Cisco switches out through their channels. To help drive the business of both its channel partners and OSMs, Cisco resellers interested in the SAN specialisation must hold a resale agreement with an OSM partner. Edison Peres, vice president of advanced technologies worldwide channels at Cisco, stated: “Cisco’s go-to-market strategy focuses on selling and supporting the Cisco MDS 9000 family through OSMs and their channel partners ensuring a certified, integrated storage solution sale.” Current OSM partners include EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, HP and IBM. Besides the resale agreement with an existing OSM partner, partners need a specific number of trained staff to qualify for the specialisation. This includes an account manager, systems engineer and field engineer focused on the SAN side of the business. While SAN solutions used to be the preserve of large enterprise customers they are rapidly becoming more relevant to smaller organizations as well. As SAN technology becomes a viable solution in the midmarket and even SMB sectors, channel partners become an increasingly important route-to-market. “OSMs will continue to resell Cisco storage products with their application storage solutions either through their direct storage specialist sales force or storage channel partners,” added Peres. “This approach allows Cisco to collaborate technically with OSMs to fully qualify, certify and integrate Cisco MDS 9000 family of directors and fabric switches into OSM-offered architectures and solutions.”

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