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While Cisco may be saying “Aloha” to its data center VARs, many at the Honolulu-based Cisco Partner Summit have been left wondering what there is to take away for Cisco’s smaller channel partners.

The news that Cisco has developed what is basically a network connectivity consolidation switch for the data center for Fibre Channel over Ethernet, high-performance clustering and data center Ethernet capabilities, alongside 10GB Ethernet, is, technically speaking, a big deal. For those firms with a data center, and for those VARs who service those firms, the Nexus 5000 Series reduces a number of headaches: cabling, power consumption, lower cost of infrastructure and future proofing, to name just a few.

The majority of Cisco’s channel partners, however, do not service this market. The data center market is arguably a large enterprise play, and even for those companies in the midmarket who do have a data center, the likelihood of them needing to consolidate their connectivity infrastructure because it is so large is minimal.

Cisco said it is looking for partners who have a play in servers, storage, networking and services to sell its 5000 Series, which makes sense; after all, the partners that are large enough to play in the data center space are likely to have a practice in all of these areas. But again, this will knock out most of those partners in the midmarket space. Even if they do have a customer or two that want this type of connectivity consolidation, the VAR is unlikely to have all the required skills to sell the switch anyway.

However, what is exciting about all of this, no matter which market it is aimed at, is the fact that finally the major vendors may be getting together to unite over standards in the data center. With Intel and Dell already on board, Cisco has said it is in discussions with the other major players in the server arena (and one can only assume it means HP, IBM and Sun). Having these players talking more openly and standardizing for the data center can only have good repercussions for the channel in general.