Cisco Cloud VARs Embrace VCE, Vblock

March 3, 2011

3 Min Read
Cisco Cloud VARs Embrace VCE, Vblock

By samdizzy

VCE — the joint VBlock venture between VMware, Cisco and EMC — is attracting influential cloud and data center partners attending Cisco Partner Summit. Moreover, VCE is preparing a formal channel partner program for solutions providers, according to four VARs at the summit.

The four VARs participated in a data center panel this morning. Initially, the VARs say, VCE was met with some skepticism. Some partners worried VCE would eliminate the value-add related to integrating VMware, Cisco and EMC solutions for customers. But under CEO Michael Capellas‘s leadership, VCE is evolving to help VARs shorten sales cycles for Vblock solutions.

Vblock, as you may recall, integrates virtualization, networking and storage in the data center. When Vblock first surfaced, partners say they had some trouble coordinating potential customer wins across Cisco, EMC and VMware. But VCE is addressing those concerns by providing a single point of contact for channel partners. Multiple sources say VCE is developing a formalized partner program that will provide VARs with dedicated channel account managers.

Now, some insights from each of the four VARs.

Cameron Bulanda, VP of specialty sales, Insight: “When VCE was first announced we were a little concerned. But when you look at the fact that you get a single point of contact, clearly VCE is a strategic offering. It’s a Ragu solution — it’s all in there. It’s vetted.”

William Padfield, CEO, Datacraft Asia: The company has consolidated three internal data centers down to one, swapping out Dell and Hewlett-Packard x86 servers for Cisco and VBlock solutions, saving power and energy. “We were the first company in Asia to promote a VCE on a road show. The best-in-class approach sounded interesting.” But, says Padfield, there was a danger: VCE could have turned into a three-headed beast, with poor coordination across VMware, Cisco and EMC. Instead, VCE is becoming useful because it truly is emerging as a dedicated business with its own employees, notes Padfield.

Adrian Foxall, Networking Business Line Director, ComputaCenter: “It’s not really about cannibalizing old server business. Instead it’s about the growth. about solution selling. There’s a consistency of message now from VCE. And we heartily embrace it. Having Capellas run it give us a degree of comfort because we knew him at Compaq.”

Mont Phelps, CEO, MWN Corp.: VCE represents “an integrated solution tested and backed by a single organization. They’re really young. We’re feeling good about their commitment. It’s better for the customer and better for us. If you’re going to drive a Vblock opportunity it simplifies how we interact” with VMware, Cisco and EMC solutions.

Also, notes Phelps, the VCE employees come from VMware, Cisco and EMC. But sometime in the near future it sounds like they are turning in their old employment badges — replaced by VCE employment badges.

Early in the Game

Of course, the VCE effort and Vblock solution are fairly young. Within weeks Hewlett-Packard  is set to host its own partner summit — the HP Americas Partner Summit — where data center solutions will surely occupy portions of the spotlight. TalkinCloud will be sure to follow up with HP perspectives at that time.

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