Avnet, Brocade team on Ethernet fabric education

Barbara Spicek Brocade

Brocade channel chief Barbara Spicek.

Brocade and Avnet Technology Solutions are teaming up to help partners take advantage of Ethernet fabric.

Dubbed Avnet Accelerator, the new program for resellers in Canada and the U.S. will offer data centre-focused solution providers a variety of training and sales tools around Brocade’s new Virtual Cluster Switching technology, part of the “Ethernet fabric” strategy to flatten the network.

“VCS is a massive opportunity for VARs who are transitioning their businesses to a solutions-led, services-led model, and we’re teaming to help them on that journey,” said Barbara Spicek, vice president of worldwide channels at Brocade.

The program will identify appropriate partners for the program, and offer enablement and demand generation tools and will be constantly measured and evolved, said Cheryl Neal, vice president of marketing for the Technology Infrastructure Solutions Group at Avnet.

“This program is unique and different, the vertical and technical enablement is very robust and very comprehensive – we’re really going both deep and wide for our partners,” Neal said.

On the enablement front, the companies will combine product-specific information with best practices that have emerged from the distributor’s various SolutionsPath practices. Since the VCS lineup applies primarily to high-traffic networks, target verticals include healthcare, government and education, all of which are mapped to SolutionsPath practices, though a Canadian version of the GovPath program is still forthcoming. It also maps well to the energy vertical, the subject of one of the latest SolutionsPath offerings.

Under the Accelerator program, Avnet will become the first distributor to feature Brocade’s VDX 6720 Data Center Switch in its Arizona-based SolutionsPath Demo Center. The switches will be remotely available for reseller to do proof-of-concept testing, which the distributor says will help VARs short sales cycles.

“We feel like it’s a key differentiator for them to take out to the end user for sales calls,” Neal said.

Demand generation include co-brandable marketing campaigns for resellers and lead nurturing around Brocade opportunities, with tools that are again customized by region and by targeted vertical.

Membership in the program is invitation-only, and Spicek said the companies’ goal is to have 40 to 50 North American resellers in the program this year. North America was chosen, Spicek added, because Avnet’s SolutionsPath practices are more highly defined here. The company may take the package to Europe in the future, she said.

While the program is a natural fit for current Brocade partners, both companies said it would also be used to on-board new partners to the vendor. Neal said solutions providers with deep virtualization practices make sense to get to know the VCS product line.

“The majority of all data centre-focused SAN or WAN resellers are looking at architecting flattened networks, so the addressable market is pretty big,” Spicek said. “Accelerator is focused on taking early adopters who have the right skill sets available and helping them to invest in that opportunity.”