Veeam has divided its channel by introducing a new paid-for accreditation that is compulsory for top-level partners, some of which claim the move penalises loyal VARs.
The virtualisation vendor recently launched its Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE) programme, a paid-for technical badge compulsory for top-tier Platinum and Gold partners.
The accreditation – which is available to but not mandatory for lower-tier partners – involves paid-for classroom training instead of its usual free, online-only education.
The vendor insists the move enables top-level partners to optimise their investment in Veeam, but some partners claim that demanding they start paying for training unnecessarily penalises them.
One reseller, who spoke to CRN on the condition of anonymity, said the costs associated with the new VMCE are too high.
"It's not just the expense [of the exams], but it is a double whammy because it is the techies out there that make money and we're losing out on that [as well as] paying for the course," he said. "It's frustrating, shall we say.
"I've talked to a number of other resellers who feel the same – it's no reward for our loyalty over the last few years... self-sufficient partners should not be penalised. New partners needing to go through this process would be more understandable, but for people working with the product already, it seems an odd way to make money out of [us]."
Other resellers claim its move to charge partners for elements of top-level accreditations reflects its efforts to trim down its partner base.
Sources speaking to CRN said Veeam is well known for having a simple sign-up process and one reseller said its "sign up everyone approach" left it unable to manage and communicate with its channel.
But Veeam denied that it is looking to reduce its channel size and said: "It is in no way Veeam's intent to trim its partner numbers."
The vendor added that the VMCE programme was competitively priced as it defended the move.
"The VMCE involves classroom training so that partners can offer high-quality professional services and optimise their investment in Veeam: giving an extra level of certification to those organisations," it said.
"VMCE is a requirement for Gold- and Platinum-level partners, who will benefit the most, but is not needed at any other level, meaning the majority of partners will be unaffected. The entire process is relatively low cost and can still be taken up [for example] by Silver-level partners looking for an extra differentiator or to reach a higher level of accreditation."
Paul Tomlinson, boss of reseller Mirus IT, said that investing in training is a good differentiator for his company and welcomed the VMCE launch.
"It's positive for us as it differentiates us against others who are just resellers," he said.
"The problem is that too many [partners] just sell instead of support the products too – you need that differentiator. Any vendor wants to boost [partner engagement] from training online to investing. The margins from Veeam are fantastic and it's worth the investment."
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