Networking giant, Cisco, has unveiled its new cloud partner program focusing on helping partners to provide and build private and public cloud services.
The program, announced at the Cisco Partner Summit 2011 in New Orleans, involves three tracks including Cloud Provider, Cloud Builder and Cloud Services Reseller.
"It is not Cisco's intent to become a broad-based cloud service provider, it is our intent to enable partners to provide those services and not to compete with you,” Cisco senior vice-president of worldwide channels, Edison Peres, said.
Cloud Builder is aimed at partners that design and implement cloud-ready infrastructures across public and private clouds.
Cloud Provider focuses on supporting partners offering public cloud services. This also ties into the Cloud Services Reseller level, which focuses on partners that resell a cloud provider's 'Cisco powered' service.
The program also emphasises partner competency across key areas such as infrastructure, management applications and professional services.
"This is where we bring 'cloud-ready' infrastructure to our customers and bring together networking, servers, storage and virtualisation, and at this level we're going to work with partners to validate the ability to bring these technologies together," he said.
"But it's really not a cloud unless you get to the next level of management applications. This program will also recognise Cisco applications, collaboration solutions and it will also validate partners working with vendors such as SAP or Oracle in the third party space."
Some of the benefits partners can obtain from the program include branding, architecture support, financing and market development funds.
Peres stressed it wasn't offering a new specialisation and that the program leverages other investments partners have already made in other vendors such as EMC, VMware and Citrix.
He highlighted most of the market opportunity resided within the building the cloud for customers and advised partners to choose their role in the cloud, invest in architectures and verticals, and to lead with professional services.
"The cloud is a clear opportunity, but partners do need to choose their role. Customer requirements are changing, they want to migrate easily with technology and be able to grow and innovate while optimising their spending," he said. "The technology has evolved to be able to deliver on these promises."
Julia Talevski attended the Cisco Partner Summit 2011 in New Orleans, as a guest of Cisco.