Unified network storage vendor BlueArc is looking for slow, steady growth of its partner program as it tries to remain "underdistributed and truly differentiated," in the market place.

BlueArc recently launched a formalized partner program and brought channel veteran Cameron van Orman on board as senior director of worldwide channel marketing to strengthen ties with the
community. Van Orman joined BlueArc in November 2007 after stints in business development at Pillar Data Systems and business operations at Sun Microsystems.

BlueArc has had a relationship, albeit an informal one, with channel partners since the company’s start eight years ago, van Orman said. In fact, some of the company’s very first deals were closed with the help of resellers, he added. 

The new BlueArc Partner Acceleration program currently boasts close to 70 partners worldwide, said van Orman. He added that while BlueArc was looking to recruit more resellers to join the program, it was important to partner selectively. BlueArc’s goal was to remain just shy of 100 reseller partners by the end of 2008, he said.

"It’s important to us not to saturate the markets and overdistribute our products," he said, since that could lead to commoditization, increased competition between resellers and margin compression. 

BlueArc’s goal was to remain "underdistributed and truly differentiated," and partners said they were happy that they weren’t "bumping into other partners selling BlueArc products in the same territories," van Orman said. 

Normally, van Orman said, "underdistributed" is a euphemism for "brand new," and "untested," and that can leave many partners and their customers hesitant to make large investments in technology.

"We have proven our technology, proven OUR market viability over eight years," van Orman said, "but we’re deliberately underdistributed.  We’re truly differentiated from a channel perspective," he said.

BlueArc’s single-tiered channel program offers partners automated deal registration, a partner portal, access to SPIFs and MDFs, and newly enhanced technical training, said van Orman. 

Dedicated channel sales managers in each sales region ensure that partners have access to marketing, sales and technical development as well as specialized vertical market training.