Chalk up another equipment vendor “going” cloud. Storage and data management company NetApp is expanding its 2010-2011 Partner Program to include service providers as well as its existing VAR base, creating a “broader NetApp partner ecosystem.” The result, which the vendor claims is the first of its kind in the storage space, is a much tighter working relationship between NetApp and its provider and VAR partners.
The restructured program is a response to market demand for storage solutions that combine premises-based gear with application and infrastructure services from the cloud. NetApp is trying to ride this wave by offering a wider menu of best-of-breed providers that can speed up deployment of these hybrid storage offerings.
Provider partners have full access to all NetApp marketing tools and programs, including technical, training, and service benefits, as well as marketing and sales support. Moreover, providers don’t have to worry about competition from the vendor, as NetApp does not offer its own cloud services, and can team up directly with the company’s VARs to grow their potential customer base.
“The NetApp Partner Program opens up sales channels for us that previously did not exist,” said Robert Fuller, vice president of Worldwide Channel Sales at Rackspace. “The collaborative sales model is truly unique, and strengthens our relationship not only with NetApp but also with NetApp VARs, allowing us to work together to secure new cloud customers and help our joint customers make a smooth and successful transition to the cloud.”
As for the VARs, the Partner Program allows them to expand their offerings to include cloud-based storage, and establishes relationships with service and solution providers that can deliver the network and IT infrastructure required to deliver a full cloud solution. And having the option to choose among providers allows VARs to better maintain their role as “trusted advisor” by offering customers a wider variety of best-in-class services instead of locking them into a single provider solution.
“As a specialized VAR focused on cloud computing, we have found through experience that success depends on the ability to adapt to our customers’ ever-changing IT environments,” said Chris Aliberti, senior vice president of National Sales at Insight Integrated Systems. “With an already established base of major cloud computing contracts, we have an excellent understanding of the technology, integration, and service needs of today’s customers and we believe that the relationships with service providers like Rackspace will dramatically accelerate and improve our ability to deliver NetApp solutions in this growing market.”