Brocade is stepping up its campaign to become a viable alternative to Cisco in thedata centre arena. Most recently, Brocade formalised a distribution agreement with Renaissance to provide a two-tier distribution model. And, with the acquisition of Foundry Networks some months ago, Brocade cannow provide a complete end-to-end solution for the data centre, which Graham Shultz,Regional Manager of Brocade ANZ, said only Brocade and Cisco have in terms of storage Infrastructure and IP ethernet solutions.
The company also has plans to bring its products to customers through its OEM relationships with IBM and Dell. “We’ve got to have a balance between getting coverage, but also not having too many partners that they can’t make any money,” Shultz said.
As the company expands from its traditional SAN-based architecture into the land of local area networks (LANs), one of the key areas of focus will be on education and training.There will be traditional three to five-day certification training, but it is also offering a free one-day training course, called Fast Track, for anyone with a competitor’s certifi cation.
“It makes it a lot easier for a partner to convert, it makes it easier for the customers to convert, so it reduces that barrier to entry or barrier to sale and barrier to support,”Shultz said.
In another bid to increase education and awareness, the company is launching its NetEd program, which is an education initiative (rather than a sales pitch, says Shultz) that talks about the world of convergence.
“We are using NetEd to educate resellers,channel partners, systems integrators and customers on where all of this is heading, because the decisions they make today are going to play a big role in how they move into this converged space [SANs, LANs,WANs and ethernet],” said Deb Dutter, VP of Brocade Asia Pacific.
When it comes to taking market share from Cisco, Dutter was careful to assert that Brocade does not intend to overtake the company. He said: “The market is so big I think everybody has a role to play. Cisco has obviously been a big player in this space, and we are nobody to say whether they’re good or bad, but we are a very viable alternative, and that’s … what customers are saying.”
He added: “We’re not just coming into the market and operating in the fringes.We spent two and a half billion dollars acquiring Foundry at a time when money is not very easy to come around.”
Brocade wants to ensure that this investment is maximised and says it is doing everything possible on the ground to make that happen