By Paolo Del Nibletto

Cisco’s latest announcement on Data Center 3.0 may look from the outset to be a lucrative opportunity for just Gold partners, but there will be an opportunity for premier and other Cisco partners.

When Edison Peres, Cisco’s VP of worldwide channels, tabulated the money opportunity for partners in data centers at US$14 billion over the next few years it got a lot of Gold partners in Canada looking to line their pockets with profits.

Remember that several of those Gold partners in Canada started out as data centre builders before moving into networking, so they have a lot of those customers already.

But I do see the premier and other Cisco partners getting involved by either partnering with these gold partners or mining their own local community for these opportunities.

Also, specialized or boutique partners who have expertise in a service or a specific application can also attach themselves to this data centre opportunity because US$4 billion of that US$14 billion is in services, which is more profitable that the hardware resale.

The question is how. For a premier partner such as IT Methods, they build data centres for customers. They either house it at their own site or on the customer’s site. Again, the hardware resale will be profitable since Cisco has kicked in five to 10 points of margin through the newly announced Data Center VIP channel program. IT Methods can build on this by adding services such as business continuity and suddenly profits increase dramatically

Those specialist partners that have a master certification in security or wireless or have developed a business critical application will find themselves in this market too. They may not be involved in the ground level on these deals, but I see them being brought in by a gold partner to deliver a specific portion of the solution.
The data centre may not be for every partner, but it’s certainly not the sole domain of the Gold partner either.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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