Neterion boosts partner program as virtualization demand booms

Partners are finding their way into virtualization by any means necessary. Neterion's upgraded channel program may be another way in.

Neterion, which sells 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GigE) adapters that also enable virtualization of input/output (I/O), is expanding its partner program and beefing up incentives.

The three-tiered program is geared to recruit more partners, offer better margins and expand sales incentives.

While there are several 10 GigE adapters hitting the market, Neterion claims its technology is the only one that can increase the number of I/O paths, enabling several virtual machines to share a connection while gaining a route whenever necessary. Virtualized I/O aims at reducing bottlenecking.

For partners deploying server virtualization, clustered workloads or 10 GigE switches, Neterion's technology offers a possible up-sell. The 10 GigE adapters work in systems from several companies, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, EMC, Hitachi and Fujitsu, and they are supported in VMware and upcoming Microsoft Hyper-V technology.

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"Since taking on Neterion … we also took on Fujitsu, which makes 10 Gigabit switches," said Doug Cole, a partner with LH Computer Services, a platinum Neterion channel member. Cole called Neterion's technology and Fujitsu switches a "great match" that "increases productivity."

Cole admits that 10 GigE, a relatively new technology, will take time to affect the market, but his company has seen a 25% increase in its 10 GigE business, with Neterion playing a solid role in that development.

Any partner can sell Neterion's 10 GigE adapters into a virtualized environment, said the company's director of product marketing, Yogesh Rami, but "the sweet spot" is the high-end solution provider that is a VMware, HP, Sun or IBM reseller.

Neterion currently has about 125 partners, and the rebranded channel program, now called the Xforce Alliance, will look to recruit as many as 125 more.

Margins for resellers will be about 30% -- up from around 9%, said Cindy Crowe, director of channel sales at Neterion. The new three-tiered program will "increase benefits for strategic or volume partners," she added.

The Xforce Alliance program also offers quarterly sales incentives, more comprehensive marketing material, stronger sales leads, training and a partner portal called Xforce Central.

Crowe said the partner program enhancements were launched because of the recent boost in virtualization technology sales -- including Neterion's 10 GigE adapters.

IDC research manager Christina Richmond said Neterion "is doing everything right" in regards to its channel improvements. Richmond noted that Neterion is working to get product demos out to potential users through the channel. The higher margins and a special academic and government pricing program are a major plus as well.

Neterion's move to provide stronger marketing material and training stands out for Cole. Selling virtualization technology of any kind still requires partners to do a fair amount of user education. Cole said the "plethora of information" that Neterion is now providing supports that effort.

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