Virtualisation vendor, VMware, will rollout partner specialisations and competencies in an attempt to better recognise and encourage more in-depth infrastructure management skills.
At its VMworld conference last week, the vendor made a plethora of technology announcements including the launch of its Virtual Datacentre operating system for internal datacentres, as well as its vCloud on-demand initiative allowing customers to tap into third-party hosted services through a range of federated “Ready” services and APIs.
The vendor also flagged plans to jointly develop datacentre solutions with Cisco and a certification to recognise integrated virtualisation and networking management skills from both sides.
Director of partner organisation, David Blackman, said the new announcements were about broadening the scope of virtualisation into the wider networking, storage and infrastructure management space. In line with this push, the vendor wants to encourage partners to start developing stronger skill sets and identifying opportunities for a broader management play.
“We will start segmenting our partners – our plan is to build competencies within the partner program and we’ve already started talking to partners about these levels,” Blackman said.
“Now people have accepted server virtualisation and realise it’s here to stay, it’s time to start differentiating. Our message to partners is to specialise – you can’t do it all, but you can be good in certain areas.”
Blackman said areas of specialisation may include disaster recovery and business continuity, the datacentre, enterprise desktop management, network management and server consolidation.
VMware already provides a tools and whitepapers for partners looking to deliver its virtualisation management tools in a Microsoft Exchange environment, Blackman said, and was expanding this out to other business software platforms such as SAP and Oracle.
This information collateral was previously only available to top-tier partners but would be opened up in the new year, he said.
The vendor has also expanded its alliance vendor ranks to provide partners with extra rebates, deal registration and incentives for selling its virtualisation technology with solutions from the likes of Force10 Networks, Cisco, Symantec, BMC Software, HP and IBM.
“A lot of our partners have storage and networking practices and this is an opportunity to expand those,” Blackman said.
VMware hoped to have a competency partner structure in place in the first half of next year. Partners will be accredited by building references and proving their capabilities in different areas.
Blackman also saw opportunity for partners to partner together to provide complementary skills.
VMware partners are currently split into three tiers: Top-tier systems integrators, enterprise partners and those buying through distribution.