Cisco and NetApp are partnering on a global channel initiative to accelerate the market momentum of the FlexPod converged infrastructure technology. Bottom line: The FlexPod Premium Partner Framework will reward premium FlexPod channel partners for investing in sales and services.
Cisco and NetApp also announced that more than 1,000 customers have already deployed NetApp since it came to market in Nov. 2010. The FlexPod series combines
computing, networking and storage solutions from Cisco and NetApp into a flexible, scalable, shared infrastructure. Nearly 100 percent of FlexPod solutions are now sold through Cisco-NetApp channel partners.
"Cisco and NetApp have heard from many of our joint channel partners that they want us to reduce complexity and streamline multi-vendor interactions, all while continuing to drive profitability," said Brian Allison, director of Data Center Go-To-Market Solutions at Cisco. "Through the FlexPod Premium Partner initiative we're rewarding partners for investing in elite sales, technical and services capabilities necessary to capture the rapidly growing market for converged infrastructure solutions."
The Future of Data Centers
The FlexPod Premium Partner Framework's stated goal is to recognize and
Reward partners who have invested in developing FlexPod solution competencies. The partner framework aims to deliver more differentiation, streamline multi-vendor interactions, and drive more profitability.
The framework plans to do this by offering partners specific branding that can be leveraged in marketing and communications, as well as special listings in NetApp and Cisco partner locator tools and differentiated marketing and communications support.
The framework will also offer access to a FlexPod help desk that assists post-sales engineers in the plan, design and implementation of a production FlexPod stack, priority access to lab resources for technical training, demonstrations, and proof-of-concept efforts, and joint learning maps from Cisco and NetApp for sales, pre-sales and post-sales personnel.
"FlexPod continues to play a foundational role in the future of data centers and private cloud environments," said Paul Lidsky, president and CEO of Datalink, a FlexPod premium partner. "For that reason it is a linchpin of the converged infrastructure consulting, analysis, design, deployment and support services that we offer to midmarket and enterprise customers.
"This new designation from Cisco and NetApp will help organizations identify the most qualified providers to ensure successful implementations that transform their data centers."
Vblock vs. FlexPod
We caught up with Zeus Kerravala principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his take on the FlexPod Premium Partner Framework. He told us that while a lot of customers like the concept of Vblock, FlexPod has been a popular alternative.
"FlexPod appeals to a wider range of customers, and the concept of a pre-tested, pre-configured sort of cloud-in-a-box is really the only way to get a cloud going in under a week. I don't know of another way, and that's one of the reasons why it's been so popular," Kerravala said.
"In the world of IT services and infrastructure, getting up a private cloud in a week is almost real-time. Cisco has done a lot more marketing of Vblock, but the appeal of FlexPod has been a little broader because of the lower price point."