The channel is by far the predominant go to market model for Ethernet technology manufacturers. Every vendor is looking for the most competent partners to provide leverage to their sales model and Brocade is no different in this respect. Customers see so much value in partners; from local support, to on site expertise, streamlined purchasing processes, independent consulting, and in many cases some of their most trusted business partnerships they have. I see many more partners broadening their scope of expertise, driven by customer requirements.
Many storage centric VARs now have Ethernet networking and server virtualization practices. Many traditional networking VARs want to understand Fibre Channel, storage and of course converged Ethernet Fabrics. VARs are also moving away from relying on any one OEM in their line card. Clearly this is in response to their customer base, most of which have at minimum, dual vendor relationships for most of their storage, server and networking infrastructure. Customers see the value in best-of-class products and are much too sophisticated to allow the vendor lock-ins from days gone by. This evolution in the partner community is yet another validation point around our open, standards based strategy at Brocade. We promote and support the value of customer choice - choice in what servers or storage vendors they need for specific applications, choice around what hyper visor they want to implement and yes, even choice around what networking vendor they think best satisfies specific requirements; this is not easily done.
There is an enormous amount of time and money required to ensure we build products that work within a heterogeneous environment. We do it because it adds value to our customers and in my experience, if you can stay ahead of customer requirements you will win! The VAR community understands that they are THE consolidation point for integrating best in class products. I guess it is no surprise why they like our strategy.