NetApp has tripled the sales threshold to become a lowest-tier partner in a move which has seen almost 2,000 partners bumped off its partner programme.
At its Partners and Pathways partner summit in Budapest today, the storage vendor said it has hiked the annual sales target for lowest-tier Silver partners from $20,000 (£12,000) to $60,000 to weed out lesser-performing resellers that are sucking up NetApp resources.
As a result, 1,900 partners have parted ways with the vendor, it said.
NetApp insisted it had not "fired" the resellers and was not declaring war on its channel.
NetApp's senior vice president for global partner sales and alliances Thomas Stanley told CRN those that missed the cut brought it on themselves.
"Don't think of it as NetApp firing partners because it's more about partners delivering against the commitment they made with NetApp," he said.
"I'm partially on the defensive about it [because] our competition would lead to you believe NetApp is walking away from the channel.
"It's less about walking away from the channel and more about how every year we evaluate if partners are delivering against the programme and the ones that are, we keep in the programme; and the ones that aren't, we put them on probation and then they separate themselves from NetApp.
"That's how I think about it – they're firing themselves, we're not firing them."
The partner churn is expected to be made up of smaller, entry-level partners which may have signed up to the programme for one-off or sporadic deals, the vendor said.
Its general manager of northern EMEA, Dave Allen, added that NetApp's partner sign-up process is open and simple, which meant it lured in plenty of partners, but that now it is looking for quality over quantity.
"I'm not interested in having a NetApp logo on every desk in the country," he said. "What I want is our logo represented in the right place with partners."
Prior to the cull – which happened in recent weeks – NetApp had about 3,500 partners on its programme.
NetApp's senior director of channels in EMEA Sven Schoenaerts said the move had the best interests of dedicated partners at heart.
"We're not trying to disappoint partners or make them run away or give out the impression we are tough to do business with – that is not the point," he said.
"The point is that we see the partners who do make the investment in our business are successful with us and in order to protect that investment, it is fair that partner that want to come and work with us match up to the same level."
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