Brocade`s New Channel Play

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


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Brocade launches new products and channel programs to increase its presence in the data center.

If Brocade was running for higher office, the company's rallying cry would be "It's the backbone, stupid," much to the chagrin of the storage vendor's competitors.  

That backbone is strengthened by Brocade's latest product; the Brocade DCX Backbone, a networking product that is designed to vastly improve the operation of data center fabrics.

While the Brocade DCX Backbone proves to be a better mousetrap, the real news here is for the channel. Brocade is willing to go to great lengths to increase its market share and is turning to the channel to make that happen. The company's new reseller programs, which go into effect in February, are targeting channel players to make sure that the first word out of their mouths is "Brocade," when it comes to the storage in the data center.

Brocade primarily makes its products available in two fashions, via OEMs or via channel distribution. The company has OEM agreements with IBM, Hewlett-Packard, EMC, Sun Microsystems, and Dell. VARs can purchase Brocade products via those OEMs, or VARs can use the more direct route of purchasing products through traditional distributors, such as Avnet, Arrow Electronics, Bell-Microproducts or TechData.

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With Brocade's new channel programs, VARs can benefit from either partnering with OEMs or by selling Brocade products directly. For those choosing the OEM route, Brocade has come up with some channel benefits that should make VARs sit up and listen. Some of those benefits include deal registration, MDF, lead generation and training. For those dealing with OEM-based sales, that seems to be a rather unique offering.

Most manufactures using OEM distribution usually leave all of the channel details and deals to the OEMs and do not work directly with VARs. That truly indicates Brocade's commitment to the channel and the manufacturer's desire to take on the big players, such as Cisco Systems, in the data center storage arena.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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