Brocade has hit out at rivals whose proprietary product stacks leave partners out in the cold and stressed its commitment to being a top-drawer networking player as its competitors diversify.
Following the SAN vendor’s buyout of Foundry Networks in late 2008, networking industry heavyweight John McHugh signed up as chief marketing officer last year.
He comes with a serious pedigree and was dubbed the Godfather of ProCurve in a 26-year spell at HP, which was spent leading networking. He then moved to Nortel before joining Brocade.
CRN met McHugh to discuss the state of the industry and Brocade’s channel plans.
McHugh on cutting the channel out of the cloud
Our competitors’ reaction to the lack of clarity [around cloud] has been to build a pre-configured single-vendor solution, cut VARs out, and go to a vendor-prescribed configuration. That is fine for a box mover, but it is disempowering for a real value-added channel partner.
On the convergence of storage and IP channels
We are creating a whole set of options for [traditional Brocade partners] to continue their storage-orientated practice. There are IP partners that have no interest in that, but a far greater number are course-correcting. They are realising you cannot be myopic about your value to the customer.
On Brocade’s direction
On the OEM SAN side, we have a dominant market share in a market that might grow zero to six per cent. We do not see that [revenue] growing in double digits, even in a five-year timeframe. Our stated direction is in IP networking, where we would expect 80 to 90 per cent of our business to be fulfilled through the channel.
On the biggest competitor Having competed with Cisco for many years, the standard way to turn a customer would be to establish an agenda where we can present ourselves in a favourable way. Cisco can set the agenda. Ten years ago no one wanted IP, but it had the might to convince the world that its whole voice system was inadequate.
On being a great networking company
Bay Networks, Nortel, HP, 3Com and IBM all thought networking was not good in and of itself. But Cisco committed and emerged as the top networking company. Its customers put up with slower innovation cycles because Cisco was committed to being a great networking company. But it is going with servers and everything else. At Brocade, we are absolutely dedicated to being a networking company.
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