Brocade points partners at Ethernet fabric opportunities

Barbara Spicek Brocade

Brocade channel chief Barbara Spicek.

Brocade has introduced two new specializations for its Elite partners, centered on channel opportunities with the company’s Brocade One vision of Ethernet-based network fabrics.

The networking vendor Wednesday announced the Virtualized Fabric specialization for partners, as well as the supporting Brocade Certified Ethernet Fabric Engineer (BCEFE) certification, supporting channel development around its VDX 6720 data centre switch. The company also launched a specialization for partners focused on application delivery.

“These two new specializations are about taking partners to the next level of knowledge as it relates to Brocade technology,” said Barbara Spicek, vice president of global channel sales at Brocade.

To reach the Virtualized Fabric specialization, partners have to go through the new BCEFE certification, which itself will take partners through “training an education on a broad set of Ethernet fabric related topics,” according to the company, including everything from theory and concept through to installation, configuration and troubleshooting.

Reaching the Application Delivery training requires a partner to go through the company’s Layer 4 to 7 training.

Of the two new specializations, Spicek said the Virtual Fabric one is much broader, representing e core of Brocade’s network strategy and likely to represent as much as 30 per cent of the company’s worldwide partner base, Spicek said. The app deliver specialization, meanwhile, is focused on “a very specific set of resellers focused on that area of expertise,” Spicek said, focused on about 10 per cent of the company’s channel base worldwide, as well as on partners selling F5 Networks and Riverbed Technology products.

In a previous interview with last fall when the company revamped its partner program, Spicek indicated the company had about 10 Elite partners in Canada, part of a broader community of about 400 Elite and Premier partners worldwide.

The new specializations fall under the company’s Value Incentive program, part of that late-2010 overhaul of the program that did away with sales clip levels and instead tiered partner rebates based on the number of specializations a partner possesses. However, even smaller, very specialized partners can make the Premier tier of the company’s Alliance Partner Network, Spicek said, by going deep on a single area, since no revenue targets are required.

And for partners focused on the broader data centre opportunity, the Virtualized Fabric specialization is an opportunity to “tie it all together,” bringing together network infrastructure (LAN and SAN) with converged architecture to create a more complete data centre practice. And the extra specialization bumps partners up a notch in terms of rebates, too.

For Spicek – who says she holds free or low-cost training and education as one of her basic channel philosophies – making these new specializations accessible is a priority. “We see it as our responsibility to not only show them the way to optimize their skillsets, but also to help them get there,” she said.

To that end, she said that the company will invest $250,000 (U.S.) per quarter in worldwide channel training and enablement, including dedicated certification plans with the company’s authorized training partners, starting with the beginning of the company’s second quarter next month.

“We’re not only putting the carrot out, we also help them go to it,” she quipped.