Cisco Launches Cloud Channel Program

Cisco Systems Inc. on Tuesday debuted its new cloud channel program to help its partners take advantage of the burgeoning cloud services opportunity.

The networking giant has created a three-tier platform, designed to accommodate different types of partners.

First, the Cloud Builder level targets partners who design and deploy cloud infrastructure. Cloud Builders must prove competency when it comes to cloud infrastructure, applications management and the provisioning of cloud professional services.

A Cloud Provider sells its own brand of Cisco-powered cloud services.

Finally, a Cloud Services Reseller lets partners white-label a Cloud Provider’s “Cisco-powered service.”

“Cisco’s intent is to enable cloud services, not compete with partners,” said Edison Peres, senior vice president of worldwide channels, during this week’s Cisco Partner Summit in New Orleans.

For Cloud Builders and Cloud Providers, Cisco will provide branding, financing, market development funds and other support features. And the company has decided to let partners use their existing Cisco certifications to qualify, rather than requiring new, and often pricey, educational qualifications.

On the whole, Peres said, the Cloud Builder designation holds the greatest promise for opportunity.

“Where there’s mystery, there’s margin,” he said, explaining that cloud services remain confusing to most end-users, many of whom want channel partners to serve as informed, trusted advisers.

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