Analysts: Size Matters in Cisco Data Center Play

By Sara Driscoll  |  Print this article Print

From a technology standpoint, Cisco's new data center architecture is great, according to analysts, but some question how many VARs will really be able to sell it.

Despite welcoming new networking architecture technology from Cisco, analysts wonder how many VARs will actually be affected by the announcement. 

Launched April 8 at the Cisco Partner Summit in Honolulu, the Nexus 5000 Series is a network connectivity consolidation switch that includes 10GB Ethernet, Fibre Channel over Ethernet, Data Center Ethernet and virtualization technology and goes some way to fleshing out Cisco’s idea of the Data Center 3.0.

However, while analysts attending the event said the technology itself is a boon for the industry, some questioned how many VARs actually operate in the data center space and will therefore be affected by the announcement.

"The data center announcement is interesting from a robust, full-solution play. However, I have been more concerned with looking at how many VARs it touches and how many partners can take advantage of the way it is structured," said Diane Krakora, CEO at Amazon Consulting. 

Keith Humphreys, managing consultant at analyst firm EuroLAN, agreed.  "Cisco is very good at creating disruptive technologies. VOIP [voice over IP] is a great example of this, and this is what it is trying to do in the data center," he said. Similar to with the VOIP market, Cisco has nothing to lose, he added. It had no PBX play when it launched into VOIP and has little now in the data center. "It has a lot to gain from this," Humphreys said.

Read more here about the Nexus 5000 Series. 

However, Humphreys questioned Cisco’s capacity to sell the 5000 Series. "There are only a handful of partners who can sell this right now; Cisco needs more credible partners in the data center. It will have to go on a recruitment drive to get the right partners."

However, speaking to Channel Insider, Edison Peres, vice president of worldwide channels at Cisco, said the company will not be recruiting new partners in the short term. "We will first be enabling our existing partners," he said. Peres admitted the announcement is likely to affect only around 300 of Cisco’s total of 42,000 partners, although he said more than half of the company’s 800 or so Gold Certified partners "also have the potential to sell it."

Although Cisco is opening the product when it becomes available in May to all of its partners, the company will require them to have the new Data Center Networking Infrastructure 2.0 specialization. To achieve this accreditation, VARs will need to have a practice in servers, storage, networking and services.  Peres said Cisco will enable partners to gain these skills by encouraging them to forge relationships with the major vendors in each space. "We will cover the networking side, but we will suggest VARs get to know vendors in the server and storage arenas to establish those practices," he said.

Peres said the biggest challenge is in the scalability of rolling the architecture out. "This is complex. It is new and requires knowledge from our VARs in multiple worlds, and scaling this kind of knowledge is challenging," he said.


See these related stories also from the partner summit:

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Cisco Unites VARs, ISVs over Integrated Apps

Cisco Portal to Help Partners Recruit Talent

Cisco Seeks Partner Growth

Cisco Plays Cupid for VARs

Analysts: Size Matters in Cisco Data Center Play

Cisco's Data Center Luau

Cisco Sets Sights on the Data Center

Top Channel Executives You Need To Know at Cisco

Sara Driscoll began her journalism career at 16 years old on her local newspaper, The Watford Observer. Working part time, she covered a range of beats. Leaving to complete her Journalism Degree at Bournemouth University, UK, Sara then went on to graduate and work for Emap. She began as a reporter on APR, Emap's construction title, being promoted to senior reporter with a year.Sara then joined VNU Business Publications as Deputy News Editor on CRN, the weekly trade title for channel players. She covered industry/business news from vendors, distributors and resellers, product announcements, partner announcements as well as market and trend analysis, research and in depth articles to predict up and coming trends in the sector. She was promoted within a year to News Editor, a year later to Deputy Editor and the following year became Editor. Sara remained editor of CRN for three years, launching the magazine on new platforms including CRN TV and eBooks, as well as several magazine and web site redesigns. She was called on for expert industry comment from various publications including appearing on live BBC news programs. Sara joined Ziff Davis Enterprise as Editor of eWeek Channel Insider. She runs the title in all formats – online up to the minute news, newsletters, emails alerts and events. She also manages the brand of Channel Insider in all formats - events, shows, awards, panel debates and roundtables.Sara can be reached at:sara.driscoll@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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