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Despite welcoming new networking
architecture technology from Cisco
, analysts wonder how many VARs will
actually be affected by the announcement. 

Launched April 8 at the Cisco Partner Summit in Honolulu,
the Nexus 5000 Series is a network connectivity consolidation switch that
includes 10GB Ethernet, Fibre Channel over Ethernet, Data Center Ethernet and
virtualization technology and goes some way to fleshing out Cisco’s idea of the
Data Center 3.0.

However, while analysts attending the event said the technology itself is a
boon for the industry, some questioned how many VARs actually operate in the
data center space and will therefore be affected by the announcement.

“The data center announcement is interesting from a robust, full-solution
play. However, I have been more concerned with looking at how many VARs it
touches and how many partners can take advantage of the way it is structured,”
said Diane Krakora, CEO at Amazon

Keith Humphreys, managing consultant at analyst firm EuroLAN, agreed. 
“Cisco is very good at creating disruptive technologies. VOIP [voice over IP] is
a great example of this, and this is what it is trying to do in the data
center,” he said. Similar to with the VOIP market, Cisco has nothing to
lose, he added. It had no PBX play when it launched into VOIP and has little
now in the data center. “It has a lot to gain from this,” Humphreys said.

Read more here about the Nexus 5000 Series. 

However, Humphreys questioned Cisco’s capacity to sell the 5000 Series.
“There are only a handful of partners who can sell this right now; Cisco needs
more credible partners in the data center. It will have to go on a recruitment
drive to get the right partners.”

However, speaking to Channel Insider, Edison Peres, vice president of
worldwide channels at Cisco, said the company will not be recruiting new
partners in the short term. “We will first be enabling our existing partners,”
he said. Peres admitted the announcement is likely to affect only around
300 of Cisco’s total of 42,000 partners, although he said more than half of the
company’s 800 or so Gold Certified partners “also have the potential to sell it.”

Although Cisco is opening the product when it becomes available in May to all
of its partners, the company will require them to have the new Data Center
Networking Infrastructure 2.0 specialization. To achieve this
accreditation, VARs will need to have a practice in servers, storage,
networking and services.  Peres said Cisco will enable partners to gain these
skills by encouraging them to forge relationships with the major vendors in
each space. “We will cover the networking side, but we will suggest VARs get to
know vendors in the server and storage arenas to establish those practices,” he

Peres said the biggest challenge is in the scalability of rolling the
architecture out. “This is complex. It is new and requires knowledge from our
VARs in multiple worlds, and scaling this kind of knowledge is challenging,” he


See these related stories also from the partner summit:

Chambers Tells VARs to Catch New Tech Wave

Cisco Unites VARs, ISVs over Integrated Apps

Cisco Portal to Help Partners Recruit Talent

Cisco Seeks Partner Growth

Cisco Plays Cupid for VARs

Analysts: Size Matters in Cisco Data Center Play

Cisco’s Data Center Luau

Cisco Sets Sights on the Data Center

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