After two years of development work, Cisco Systems and Citrix Systems have released the Cisco and Citrix Partner Accelerator. This is being marketed as a first of its kind joint initiative specific to the channel. Both vendors hope to enable channel sales and delivery models across a single framework for the virtualization marketplace in this new program.
According to Cynthia Gallant, the vice president of worldwide channel strategy and development for Citrix, this initiative was a top priority for both companies and a way to help channel partners address the proliferation of devices in customer accounts because of the consumerization of IT trend. “Smartphones and other devices are an extension of the workplace and they need access to data and their own desktop environment,” Gallant said.
She added that the consumerization of IT has brought about security and compliance concerns for customers, which they hope to address with this joint channel program.
“The pressure is on IT to do something on this for mobile device management. We are in the early stages and there was a time where they could wait to build a plan. But now CIOs must act and get in front of this curve,” she said.
The Cisco and Citrix Partner Accelerator plan provides tools that enable joint channel partners to build a Cisco VXI with Citrix XenDesktop practice and deliver complete solutions for desktop virtualization and collaboration with optimized server, network and storage infrastructure. Part of this program involves storage vendor partners EMC and NetApp. For now the Accelerator program only includes these two storage vendors, but Gallant said that both Cisco and Citrix are open to including others after the initial rollout of the program.
The Cisco and Citrix Partner Accelerator program also makes available sales and marketing resources which allows partners to compress customer sales and implementation cycles as well as additional benefits including proof of concept funding, incentives and assessments that differentiate partners in the hopes of increasing profits for solution providers.
Brian Allison, director, data center go-to-market solutions for Cisco, said from his company’s perspective this is a dual opportunity for the channel. “We see the pressure and the demand cascading into the partner base. Those pressures on the customers are huge with on-going flat budgets and the proliferation of devices. Experienced people are now not willing to compromise. So how do you drive that?”
Allison added that Cisco and Citrix want to help solution providers get to the next level with customers because virtual desktop today does not address voice and video and end users want that to be addressed. “That’s where the VXI solution is a cut above,” he said.