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VMware PEX: VMware focuses on services, rolls out SDDC competency

The new partner offerings that VMware unveiled at Partner Exchange 2015 include the Partner Professional Services Program and the Software-Defined Data Center Competency.

With yesterday's kickoff of VMware Partner Exchange 2015 (PEX) in San Francisco, more than 4,000 attendees from over 80 countries heard company executives talk about tighter-than-ever relationships with partners and new product launches -- VMware vSphere 6, VMware Virtual SAN 6, VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes, and a unified platform for hybrid cloud that includes these products in addition to VMware Integrated OpenStack and VMware vCloud Air Hybrid Network Services powered by VMware NSX.

The rollout of new programs, two new competencies and partner enablement is where the VMware partner news really hit home: profitability.

On that front, VMware is bolstering the value of the VMware Partner Network by focusing on services and, more specifically, the Partner Professional Services Program.

"The program is a way for us to share IP [intellectual property] with our partners and enable them, but to also promote them to our joint customers as well as reward them for the investments that they're making," said Toni Adams, vice president of global partner marketing and alliances at VMware.

As the way customers consume IT changes, i.e. hybrid computing models and subscription-based IT, VMware views services as key to partner profitability and success going forward.

"So what we require of partners today is different than what we'll require tomorrow," Adams said, adding that today it's about the technology, the pre-sales, sales and implementation of that technology. Tomorrow, it's about services: "Services via business consulting to solve the customer's problem; via application migration services to move on-premises applications to off-premises; or cloud infrastructure via an integration or implementation service or support service," he stated.

The VMware Partner Professional Services Program falls under the VMware Partner Network and will enable consulting partners to sell and deliver services. Partner benefits include access to software-defined data center (SDDC) architects and experts at no cost, training discounts, VMware architects, and tried-and-tested service sales and delivery IP, according to the company.

The new program will be rolled out slowly. There are currently a limited number of partners working in a pilot environment to help the vendor define and build the VMware Partner Professional Services Program. The pilot is expected to run through the first half of fiscal year 2015, with a broader rollout expected in the second half of the year.

New VMware competencies

At VMware PEX, the vendor also announced two new solution competencies: the Software-Defined Data Center Competency and Mobility Management Solution Competency.

Available today, the Mobility Management Solution Competency targets expanding expertise around AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Management technology.

"The Mobility Management Solution competency allows our partners to engage in this growth opportunity," Adams said.

Available in the second quarter, the SDDC competency is a high-level competency for invested partners who have obtained competencies in five areas: management operations, management automation, infrastructure virtualization, networking virtualization and software-defined storage. Partners are also required to have a minimum of two VMware Certified Advanced Professional or VMware Certified Implementation Expert certifications.

Today, there are about 200 VMware partners globally who meet the requirements for the SDDC competency, according to Colleen Kapase, vice president for partner go-to-market experience at VMware.

"Think of the SDDC competency as the crown jewel over the five building blocks," she said.

Think of the SDDC competency as the crown jewel over the five building blocks.

Colleen Kapase
Vice president with partner go-to-market global organization, VMware

Partners who achieve each of the new competencies will be eligible for Solution Rewards rebates.

VMware will also be updating the VMware Sales Professional and the VMware Technical Sales Professional curriculum to Version 6. The updated version of the server virtualization competency will include additional focus on VMware vSphere with Operations Management and the Virtualization Optimization Assessment, according to the company.

VMware Practice Builder, Subscription Purchasing program

Building on the theme and focus on services, VMware introduced a new benefit called Practice Builder. This benefit is targeted at top VMware partners who complete the five competencies required for the new SDDC competency. 

According to Kapase, Practice Builder is VMware's way of helping specialized technology partners build out a services practice through customized five-day training. "It's so partners really know how to bring a service IP to a customer as quickly and efficiently as possible," she said.

VMware also launched a Subscription Purchasing program at VMware PEX, allowing partners to buy "cloud credits" as an SKU. "Partners can use the capacity to stand up a service -- such as desktop as a service or disaster recovery as a service, for example -- helping the customers move infrastructure off-premises," Adams said.

And finally, VMware indicated that it will expand the VMware vCloud Air Network Program in the second quarter to include managed services opportunities for vCloud Air Network service providers who use VMware vCloud Air as their core infrastructure.

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Do you plan to obtain VMware's SDDC competency?
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Actually, I really intend to be VMware’s SDDC competent. This is because; vendors are aggressively pushing for the software-defined data center concept. At the same time, VMware have found that partners who are achieving these competencies are typically becoming unique in IP, and differentiate themselves in the market, and as a result build a stronger and trusted adviser role with their customers. It’s for this reason I would not want to be left behind.
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I concur with the Vice President, Toni Adams, that this program would help promote and reward the company's partners. However, from experience, I know that the sharing of Intellectual Properties also comes with its own risks and disadvantages. These risks and disadvantages are not being mentioned here, that is a point of concern to me. I believe some of their partners would be having very similar concerns too.
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