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DataCore Tightens Partner Program

DataCore Software on Monday compressed its channel program for storage virtualization partners from three levels to one and increased its standards, while simultaneously boosting investment in partner margins, marketing funds, training and sales engineers.

The moves come as enterprise demand for storage virtualization solutions is beginning to take off, Steve Houck, COO for the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company, said in a phone interview.

While it may seem counterintuitive to respond to an expanding market opportunity by exercising more control over the number of partners representing the product, Houck, who joined DataCore last year, said the specialized nature of the emerging market requires close engagement.

"The prior program had tiers -- bronze, silver, gold. It was fairly open. It had a level of technical certification. What we found was we needed to adapt the program based on what was happening in the market," Houck said.

The new Premier Partner Program for the Americas has one level and will be invite-only. In the Americas, DataCore has about 100 partners, with 10 of them considered very active. The company is in touch with another 20 to 30 partners that it's hoping to add this year in the region, which includes Canada, the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to Houck, there are several characteristics of a successful DataCore partner on the SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor platform, which covers VMware, Citrix and Microsoft hypervisors, and commonly supports Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server workloads, along with SAP and Oracle workloads.

"Number one is that the partner principle understands the strategic value of having a storage virtualization practice," Houck said. Another foundation is that the partner has done server virtualization, which means they have customers who are beginning to experience challenges related to integrating both hardware and software from multiple storage vendors. Partners working to solve those types of enterprise issues also tend to be exploring SSD and flash storage options for speed, which is an area where DataCore's software is a fit, Houck said.

The emerging nature of those requirements means that both the partners and vendors like DataCore are seeking one another out even as they are separately discovering customers' pain points. "There's no storage virtualization community that we go recruit," Houck said.

Posted by Scott Bekker on April 01, 2013 at 11:58 AM


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