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Brocade announced the addition of technology-centric channel partner specializations to the Brocade Alliance Partner Network (APN) program, which are based on a combination of standard industry certifications and Brocade-approved testing qualifications. The designations are designed to help the company’s channel partners address growing customer demand for skilled expertise across a range of networking technologies, including specializations relating to virtualized, services-on-demand computing environments.

The company plans to recognize channel partners who currently offer both Brocade Storage Area Network (SAN) and IP/Ethernet product portfolios by implementing the Brocade Network Infrastructure Partner Specialization. Additional specializations, including Virtualized Fabrics Partner and Application Delivery Partner specializations, will be introduced throughout the remainder of the year, each with a set of affiliated requirements.

Barbara Spicek, vice president of Brocade’s worldwide channels division, said the addition of the specializations to the APN program aligned with their commitment to support their partners as they help customers migrate to new networking technologies to future-proof their networks.

“Brocade is dedicated to the continual development of APN program elements that bring value and additional revenue opportunities to partners,” she said. “These specializations will help partners to differentiate themselves in an exceedingly competitive business environment and enable them to become and remain trusted IT advisors to their customers.”

The company noted qualified partners would receive a number of program benefits, including dedicated pre-sales support, access to seed units and proof-of-concept labs, opportunities for special accreditation, and dedicated lead assignments. In addition, those partners would also have the ability to progressively apply their specializations to their overall rebate scheme to receive greater monetary rewards.

Chris Ilg, program director of the infrastructure channels practice at IT research firm IDC, said as increasing numbers of end customers begin to fully embrace the evolution toward highly virtualized, services-on-demand computing environments, the network becomes the critical component for the secure, reliable and efficient delivery of data.

“Partners are under more pressure to demonstrate inherent value to their customers than ever before,” Ilg said. “Certification-based specializations really help partners bolster their in-house capabilities and knowledge base, while providing customers with the assurance that they’re receiving top-notch guidance and expertise for their IT needs.”