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Riverbed Technology—which became private earlier this year and has shed a few product lines, such as its virtual application delivery controllers and cloud backup and recovery products—told partners it is changing its competency requirements and making available professional service training.

At its May 19-21 partner conference, Karl Meulema, senior vice president of global channels for Riverbed, said the company plans to make a concerted effort to enable partners to earn more money selling consulting and integration services around the Riverbed portfolio of wide-area network (WAN) technologies.

“We’re going to be pretty focused on partner enablement,” Meulema said. “As part of that, we’re going to bring all our partners together under one program.”

As part of that effort, Riverbed is making it simpler to create and sell more turnkey offerings, such as a Riverbed SteelFusion platform that combines WAN optimization and storage technologies to create a virtual instance of a branch office running inside a remote data center.

In addition to unifying Riverbed’s channel, Meulema pledged that the company will come up with ways to pass leads on to channel partners more efficiently while also making it easier for partners to demo Riverbed equipment.

Finally, Riverbed will be especially focused on increasing the number of partnerships it has with managed service providers, he said.

In theory, demand for WAN optimization technology in the age of the cloud should be increasing. Cloud applications are notoriously latency-sensitive, which often makes WAN optimization a necessity to connect remote offices to software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Riverbed clearly needs partners that are not only familiar with WANs, but also all the nuances of managing data centers in the age of the cloud.

The degree to which Riverbed can attract those partners remains to be seen. The vast majority of its existing partner network is made up of classic resellers. The end goal for Riverbed is to upgrade the skills of its existing partner base and attract new partners capable of selling, installing and managing a more complex set of integrated products and services.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.