**Editor's Note: Click here for a list of recent channel-program changes you should know.**
VCE, makers of Vblock converged infrastructure systems, announced this week that it has revamped its partner program to better align with the services and solutions opportunities for its partners.
Concurrently, the company – a joint venture of Cisco, VMware and EMC – is rolling out new products, including a new addition to the 300 series as well as two other purpose-built systems support high-performance databases and extreme applications.
VCE launched its channel three years ago recruiting partners from its respective investor companies, said D. Martin, vice president of worldwide channels for VCE, noting that it's now become clear that knowing the innerworkings of Vblock is not nearly as critical for partners as supporting services and solutions that run on top of it. VCE has relaunched its partner program with that in mind.
Significantly, the program has moved to a tiered system – authorized, silver and gold – with graduated requirements and associated rebates. Initially, Martin expects the majority of partners (about 260) will fall into this category while about 50 will qualify for silver and 20 for gold.
The more interesting change is in the specializations in services and solutions. On the services side, VCE is offering partners the ability to specialize in two competencies – deployment/implementation and management/operations. Martin said that the volume of repeat business means there's a lot of call for installation services and, he said, many midmarket companies don't have the IT staff to take on day-to-day operations, so partners have an opportunity to earn recurring revenue on a managed service.
On the solutions side, there are two new specializations – messaging/collaboration (specifically Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint) and VDI – with more to come in first quarter, Martin said. He hinted that the next specializations would support some of the new specialized product offerings also announced this week.
Among those were purpose-built Vblock systems for High-Performance Databases, like Oracle's), which can handle environments requiring millions of IOPS, scalable to hundreds of terabytes, and constant availability. VCE also is releasing the Vblock Specialized System for Extreme Applications, which features all-flash technology with inline de-duplication. This specialized system offers the performance and responsiveness needed for massively scalable VDI implementations.
In addition to these special systems, VCE has added the Vblock System 340, which incorporates the latest compute, network, storage, and virtualization technologies from its investor companies. This new system offers up to four times the performance and twice the capacity of the previous Vblock Systems 300.
VCE also has upgraded its Vision Intelligent Operations software. Introduced in February 2013, the software dynamically informs customer management frameworks about Vblock Systems configuration and health, enabling the Vblock System to be seen and managed as a single converged infrastructure object. The new version offers automated updates of new patches and software releases for Vblock components, proactive scanning and reporting on release and security.
Finally, a new VCE Cloud Accelerator Services help customers plan, build and implement scalable “as a service" cloud infrastructure environments. These services combine business process, operations, and organization transformation expertise with pre-integrated service catalog capabilities for self-service portals and chargeback on the Vblock Systems.