Cisco, NetApp Open New Partner Program for FlexPod Data Center Technology

Channel receives enhanced benefits and support in exchange for training, certification on FlexPod converged infrastructure platform.

Cisco Systems Inc. and NetApp Inc., co-developers of the FlexPod data center system, recently unpacked a joint channel program intended to train and deploy—and subsequently reward—an upper tier of solution providers to galvanize the platform’s sales.

Under the Premium Partner Framework, channel partners attaining training and certification specific to the FlexPod technology will gain a host of benefits, including heightened sales and marketing support, special branding, tools, and engineering assistance.

“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," said Brian Allison, Cisco director, Data Center Go-To-Market Solutions.

Officials said that nearly all of the FlexPod data center systems—which incorporate NetApp storage arrays with Cisco computing and networking technology--are sold through about 500 channel partners worldwide. The companies have recorded some 1,000 installations at customer sites, up from 850 earlier this year.

To date, 22 FlexPod Premium Partners have qualified for the initiative, including seven partners in North America and 15 in Europe, the companies said.

Additional benefits for partners enlisted in the Premium Partner Framework include special listings in NetApp’s and Cisco’s partner locators, help desk assistance for post-sales engineers, lab resources, tools to enhance their FlexPod practices, and demand generation materials mapped to the FlexPod technology.

“The FlexPod Premium Partner Framework reflects Cisco's and NetApp's commitment to recognizing partners who have achieved the highest levels of sales, technical, and professional services capability,” said Peter Howard, NetApp senior director, Data Center Alliances.

“It builds upon our consistent and shared vision to accelerate customer success through strong, profitable channel partners," he said.  

Datalink Corp., a Minneapolis, MN-based data center-focused solution provider, said that it is the first company in North America to attain FlexPod Premium Partner status.

“We began developing our expertise on converged infrastructures two years before the FlexPod architecture was introduced, and that led directly to our ability to meet the stringent requirements of the program,” said Paul Lidsky, Datalink president and chief executive.

Datalink said that it has designed and deployed 28 FlexPod-based architectures, including installations at Cook County Health and Hospitals System and Hughes Network Systems.

“This new designation from Cisco and NetApp will help organizations identify the most qualified providers to ensure successful implementations that transform their data centers," said Lidsky.

Cisco and NetApp first offered FlexPod in November, 2010, and initially framed it for large workloads involving hundreds of servers. But two months ago, in seeking new markets for FlexPod, the companies downsized the system to accommodate a broader set of customers, specifically aiming it at business application workloads with 500 to 1,000 users.

TAGS: certification,Cisco,NetApp,training,channel program,channel partner,FlexPod

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