Cisco partners with top four storage vendors

It may look like an OEM arrangement and may even act like an OEM arrangement, but if you ask Edison Peres, Cisco Systems’s vice-president of advanced technologies and worldwide channels, the company’s latest partnerships with Hewlett-Packard, IBM, EMC and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) are what he coins

OSM relationships.

OSM stands for original storage manufacturer and the difference between OSM and OEM are that OSM partners will retain the primary solution distribution role, while taking advantage of Cisco’s direct sales force to actively provide information about the new line of MDS 9000 switches from Cisco. Similar to OEM agreements, HP, IBM, EMC and HDS will still resell the Cisco MDS 9000 line. Also part of the deal will be a channel component, where many of the same storage resellers that Cisco partners with will already have relationships with HP, IBM, EMC and HDS.

These partners will be able to purchase Cisco product from the four manufacturers.

Price will not be an issue, Peres said. Cisco has priced the product as if the VAR would purchase it directly from the company.

“”If you look at the SAN or storage system market and pool these four manufacturer’s together you would have 85 per cent marketshare. We wanted to do this to compete with Brocade, but we wanted it supported by these four manufacturers,”” Peres said.

Peres admitted that Cisco chose a different model than its competitor’s traditional OEM arrangement. “”Most would do an OEM relationship. This uses a direct relationship and so we coined the term OSM active. It is like an OEM, but it ensures that a strong direct sales organization from Cisco will create demand for partners.

“”In the past the perception out there was that OEMs are passive and we did not want to be passive. The contract terms are OEM like, but it is more of a compliment to (just) selling the product.””

Cisco will not stop at just the top four vendors in the market. Peres said Cisco is finalizing similar OSM arrangements with other storage manufacturers.

Currently the OSM arrangement will be for reselling Cisco branded product, but Peres said that Cisco would consider a co-branding relationship with HP, IBM, EMC and HDS.

EMC recently announced that it intends to become a Cisco OSM and resell and support the Cisco MDS 9509 Multilayer Director and the Cisco MDS 9216 Multilayer Fabric Switch. The Cisco MDS 9000 line will be offered as part of EMC’s set of Connectrix SAN Infrastructure products and will be available from EMC and its channels later in the second quarter of this calendar year. EMC also plans to develop software applications hosted on the Cisco MDS 9000 platform and will work with Cisco to promote open standards in this area.

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