Roadmap Update: Vendors Shake up Channel Offerings

NetApp and LeftHand roll out program updates.

Two vendors with products relevant to Microsoft partner businesses announced tweaks and enhancements to their channel programs in recent months.

Storage vendor NetApp enhanced its partner program in October with a new benefit called the NetApp GetSuccessful Partner Enablement Program. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based storage vendor's new benefit consists of three elements. GetSuccessful Essentials is a video-on-demand series to help the channel understand and pitch core differentiators of NetApp storage solutions. GetSuccessful Solution Enablement consists of best practices, tools and resources for partners. GetSuccessful Workshops is a mix of hands-on training for sales and marketing and for technical staff.

NetApp's GetSuccessful pitch came days before news that Symantec Corp.'s Global Channel Chief Julie Parrish was leaving the security, storage and management giant for a similar role at NetApp. Her official title at NetApp is vice president, worldwide channels.

Meanwhile, NetApp also served as a canary in the coal mine on the economy, announcing in late October the cancellation of a user conference that had been scheduled for February.

In a statement, Elisa Steele, senior vice president of corporate marketing at NetApp, said that despite customer interest, "those same customers told us their travel budgets were being cut and it was difficult to commit to attending in today's climate of economic uncertainty. For those reasons, we decided to cancel this year's program." The move was one of the first public conference cancellations blamed on the economy.

By the Numbers: Risky Business

A new study conducted by Osterman Research Inc. and commissioned by disaster recovery vendor Neverfail Ltd. found that many mobile device users engage in behaviors that could put their health and relationships at risk.

"The study uncovered a constant pressure for employees to be available at all times through their mobile devices. This will only worsen with the economic downturn as employees take on more responsibility because of budget and headcount reductions," Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research, said in a statement about the study.

Among the findings from end-user respondents about their mobile device usage:

94% send e-mail or text messages after work hours

80% never leave phones at home when they go on vacation

79% have sent messages while in the bathroom


LeftHand Networks
The 500 resellers and distributors of LeftHand Networks Inc.'s storage virtualization and iSCSI storage area network solutions found themselves working with a different company in October.

Hewlett-Packard Co. signed a definitive agreement to acquire Boulder, Colo.-based LeftHand Networks for about $360 million at the beginning of the month. The nine-year-old company is privately held and has 215 employees and 3,000 customers.

In a statement, LeftHand Networks' CEO Bill Chambers told LeftHand Networks channel partners that HP is a natural fit for them, offering an expanded portfolio of server, storage and networking products and services. He said combining LeftHand Networks' virtualization technologies with HP's technologies could accelerate server-consolidation projects.

LeftHand Networks will become part of the HP StorageWorks division in the HP Technology Solutions Group.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.