Brocade goes after campus LAN with Effortless Network launch

Brocade ICX SwitchesBrocade believes its found a new sweet spot with the launch of a new campus lineup that it says promise “Effortless Networking” and ignites what it describes as a stagnant campus networking space.

“We’ve seen a lack of innovation in the campus networking space, and we’re aiming to change that trend,” said Raelyn Kritzer, director of channel marketing at Brocade.

At the centre of the Effortless Network message is the new ICX family of switches, based on what the company is calling Brocade HyperEdge technology. The message is simple: automate as much campus network configuration as possible, and reduce network operating expenses in so doing.

The company touts HyperEdge as an enabling technology for campus networks that are seeing demands change in the face of network-based unified communications, the Bring Your Own Device movement, mobility, video and virtual desktops. The company says the new switches are “targeted firmly” at the midmarket customer.

“Being first to market with this technology is key, but the real power comes from the strength and the reach of our channel,” Kritzer said. “It’s a great opportunity for partner as they augment their value proposition. We believe it’s a door-opener for them, allowing them to address specific pain points.”

Kritzer said the company will be looking to new partners, as well as is traditional channel partners, to deliver the ICX switch platform, and outlined a series of channel program additions for the products.

“We’re looking to recruit new partners in the campus LAN and Ethernet fabrics space,” Kritzer said. “There’s a low and appealing entry point and good profitability across the board, no matter where you come in at it.”

On the training side, Brocade introduced product education on its partner portal Web site, including a new Accredited Campus Networking Specialist category for partners. The accreditation will cover the company’s Layer 2 and 3 Ethernet products. Notching the new accreditation will take partners about three hours, including about two hours of studying and a one-hour exam. The training is suited for both partner with existing campus LAN businesses and those new to the category. “It’s an innovative technology, so we don’t presume partners have all the expertise as of yet,” Kritzer said.

Kritzer said the company is also adding three per cent to the bonus it offers on deal registration for the new products as an incentive, and has offered solution providers heavier discounts on demo products in the new campus LAN lineup, and has put close to 200 seed units into partners’ hands to help them ramp up on the products.

Finally, Kritzer said the company has added “accelerators” to its Brocade Rewards program, offering resellers’ sales staff greater incentives for selling the new campus products.

The company’s new campus switches, the ICX 6430 and 6450 will to partners later this month, with list prices starting at $1,295 (U.S.). The company says the full breadth of its HyperEdge technology will be available in the first half of 2013, although the new products are “HyperEdge technology-ready.”