Cisco Systems has launched a new training program aimed at boosting the level of expertise among its storage resellers. The vendor’s new Storage Networking Specialisation brings the number of Cisco specialisations available through its Channel Partner Program to 14.
In addition to the Storage Networking Specialisation, Cisco has also announced three individual storage-based certificates: Cisco Storage Sales Specialist, Cisco Storage Networking Design Specialist and Cisco Storage Networking Support Specialist.
Channel partners must obtain all three certificates to qualify for Storage Networking Specialisation.
Cisco A/NZ storage networks business development manager, Dylan Morison, said the new specialism was a global program reflecting the last of three phases of Cisco’s storage strategy.
The first phase was launching the MDS SAN product line, a year ago, while the second was building up relationships with its Original Storage Manufacturer (OSM) partners, he said. The third initiative – offering the specialised storage certificates – would educate these partners in and help them add value to Cisco’s storage products.
Cisco’s go-to-market model for storage is through partnerships with OEMs. The vendor has four main storage partners in Australia - IBM, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, and EMC - and also maintains relationships with Network Appliance and Ziotech.
Channel partners who are interested in applying for the new specialisation would need to have a relationship with at least one of these OEM partners, Morison said.
Morison branded storage as one of Cisco’s advanced technologies, alongside wireless and security. The new certifications for storage area networking (SAN) were in line with other Cisco qualifications, such as its certified internetwork engineer (CCIE) program, he said.
At a global level, Cisco claims the channel is gaining momentum in the SAN market.
A recent Cisco-commissioned survey by researchers IDC said that over the next three years, major storage systems vendors would need to develop additional indirect sales routes through qualified resellers to help meet the growing demand for SAN solutions among end-user companies.