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Channel issues block Vblock sales


Data center VARs really want the VCE Coalition to get its sales act together soon and some hope for news along those lines Dec. 14 when coalition execs will talk about what’s going on with the VCE Partner Program, go-to-market plans and training.  

Almost everyone agrees that business customers are interested in Vblocks. The bundles of EMC storage, VMware virtualization and Cisco servers definitely get a look from data center pros looking to upgrade aging infrastructure and consolidate hardware.

But actual deals lag that interest and will continue to do so until the VCE coalition, soon to be the VCE Company, get’s it sales-and-channel house in order.

Several VCE VARs say they’ve run into channel conflict in the field, where someone affiliated with VCE tries to take the deals they have been working on direct. What’s not exactly clear is who the guilty parties are.

One VAR said he’s seen deals percolating nicely until the EMC sales rep gets wind that  X hundred thousand dollars worth of EMC storage is slated to go out as part of a Vblock. Since the rep is not compensated as well for storage bundled that way, guess what ? He pushes the customer into buying it separately.

The VAR said it’s easy to see why given how aggressively EMC “quotas” its sales force each quarter. He’s hearing that the VCE (and by extension EMC) is working to make sure that those EMC reps will make out equally well whether the storage sells solo or as part of a Vblock. Something definitely has to happen on the sales incentive side to stop the bleeding.

Tick tock on that.

One EMC executive denied outright that EMC sales guys are the culprits but said some VCE folks are taking deals direct.

A second VCE partner said it would be extremely interesting if VCE is poaching deals on its own since, technically, it has no sales force. But it does have that weird Acadia services unit that might have been getting feisty. Acadia, though, is going away.

Asked whether the deal poachers were on the VCE or EMC or Cisco staffs, still another VAR shrugged. “Who the hell knows WHO  these guys are working for?”  

It’s true, the bulk of VCE employees are “on loan” from Cisco and EMC, so things are clear as mud.

The EMC exec who said VCE people were the ones misbehaving has great faith that Michael Capellas, he of Compaq fame, will fix the sales-and-channel situation. Capellas was brought in to head Acadia, but is now the de facto head of VCE, apparently.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Barbara Darrow, Senior News Director at, or follow us on twitter.

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I must say that as a customer my experience does not reflect what this article states. Just last night I spoke to our EMC sales rep about vBlock specifically and he actually discussed bringing in a VAR. The impression I got was that the EMC sales team would certify the components and quotes based on our expressed needs but the purchasing and assembly was via the VAR. Will see if something changes this morning.
Khanyarr: would love to talk to you about your vblock experience. if you could send me email would love to hyear about it. --barbara darrow