Brocade adds software networking channel program

Raelyn Kritzer, director of channel marketing at Brocade

Raelyn Kritzer, director of channel marketing at Brocade

Brocade is looking to take a leading role in helping solution providers integrate software-defined networking into their businesses with the launch of a new Software Networking component of its Alliance Partner Network.

The new program will introduce three tiers of membership for partners focused on software-defined networking, and comes as the company opens the doors to the SDN properties it acquired in its 2012 purchase of Vyatta to the channel.

To date, the company has had about 100 legacy Vyatta partners selling those products, said Raelyn Kritzer, director of global channel marketing at Brocade. But now, the company is making its SDN lineup available to a broader set of partners through its distributors.

While SDN is seen as a major area of focus for most networking vendors, and a major area of curiosity and interest for many solutions providers and their customers, Brocade hopes to turn that curiosity and interest into real market opportunity for its partners.

“We have a very strong partner route-to-market, so it’s important to provide the right enablement and programs to support our partners’ success,” Kritzer said. “Our strength is in fabric, and fabric really compliments software. Together they offer greater flexibility in the network. But for channel partners, theere’s still a lot to do in order to get them up to speed on opportunity in the SDN space. They have to understand the opportunity for their businesses and for their customers’ businesses.”

To support that enablement, the company has added a three-tier SDN track to its partner program. The base Select level requires one of the company’s two software networking certification, while the medium Premier level requires two people with one of the two certifications. Entry into the top-tier Elite level requires a partner to have two technical staff, each with both SDN-related certifications. Krtizer said the total investment in time (the training is free) is about eight hours for a partner to get up to speed. Because it’s a focused program, the company is installing revenue clip levels of $25,000 annually for Premier partners, and $50,000 per year for Elite partners.

Along with the legacy Vyatta partners who will be grandfathered into the program, Kritzer said there’s been a lot of interest from Brocade’s community of IP networking partners, and it’s that group have the most to gain by being early to the game of SDN.

“Most of our partners who are seeing fabric today understand the value of software networking technologies. We want to help them optimize their opportunities,” she said. “The window of opportunity for them is now. This is going to be like virtualization, it’s going to catch on like wildfire, and we ant to be the first out of the gates to educate our partners and differentiate them.”

If things do go as they hope, it could be short-lived as a discrete program. Kritzer said that as software-defined networking goes mainstream, the company will look at rolling the current software group into the core IP networking group.

Along with the new program, the company introduced a series of the usual enablement supports, including deal registration discounts, access to free or reduced cost (75 per cent off) software licenses, and “proposal-based MDF” available to partners.

Kritzer also hinted that the company will introduce new programs and enablement tools for its Ethernet Fabric VARs in the second half of 2014.