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VMware adds incentives to partner program

New incentives tailored toward virtualization best practices

After a year saw many competitors enter the virtualization marketplace, VMware (Nasdaq: VMW) is turning up the heat against Microsoft and Citrix Systems by unveiling what it calls the next-generation partner network program. The new plan will provide channel partners with more financial incentives to create virtualization practices based on VMware technology.

The VMware Partner Network is a comprehensive program that will provide a common infrastructure, extensive sales and services tools, margin opportunities and industry-recognized training for VMware’s entire partner ecosystem, from sales partners and solution providers to technology partners and original equipment manufacturers. The program will provide new solution competencies and a simplified information portal to make engaging with VMware smoother than in previous years.

Carl Eschenbach, executive vice president of worldwide field operations for VMware, said, partners are key to providing customers the significant business benefits of VMware virtualization. The partner community has invested so much in our trusted, industry-leading solutions that we are now matching their trust with an investment of our own. The VMware Partner Network is designed to deliver competency-based training and tools to help our partners grow their virtualization practices and continue to be trusted advisers to customers of all sizes.

The VMware Partner Network builds on VMware’s existing program and offers support for all types of partners such as solution providers, corporate resellers, system builders, service providers, systems integrators and outsourcers, training centres, technology partners and original equipment manufacturers.

New program benefits include:

Competencies: VMware has established new competency-based training that will enable partners to clearly differentiate their solution expertise to customers. Partners will be able to receive certifications in four competencies: infrastructure virtualization, business continuity, desktop virtualization and virtualization management.

New and improved information portal: VMware has revamped its partner portal, Partner Central, which will enable partners to more easily access the marketing and sales tools, leads modules, market development funds, service IP and other tools needed to grow their VMware virtualization business.

Partner University: A virtual campus that helps accelerate partners’ virtualization practices through training and education on VMware products, services and solutions under one central framework. New enhancements to Partner University include access to VMware’s new virtualization solution competencies. Organized into role-based learning paths.

The advantage+ opportunity registration program, which was part of the original program, will be kept. But, VMware announced that it will have a second option called newsolution+, which will focus on providing partners additional margin opportunity when they complete one of the new competencies and sell related VMware solutions such as VMware View, VMware Site Recovery Manager, VMware vCenter Lab Manager, VMware vCenter Stage Manager and VMware vCenter Lifecycle Manager.

On the market side, the Alliance Affiliate Initiative will remain in the program. It is a co-marketing initiative that helps to accelerate partner profitability and reward joint solution selling.

The VMware Partner Network is expected to be available to partners later in the second quarter of 2009. For more information on the VMware Partner Network, please visit www.vmware.com/partners.