News Release

Cisco Announces Channel Partner Specialization to Address Customer Demand for Storage Networking Solutions

New Specialization Helps Customers Identify Cisco Channel Partners Who Have Completed Training to Deliver Intelligent Storage Networking Services and Solutions
Jun 28, 2004

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 28, 2004 - To meet increasing customer demand for intelligent storage area networking (SAN) solutions that will help further decrease total cost of ownership and simplify the management of storage resources, Cisco Systems® today announced a specialization that focuses on the storage networking market.

The new Storage Networking Specialization is the latest addition to the now more than 14 specializations that are available to channel partners through the Cisco® Channel Partner Program. It provides a structured training roadmap and verification process to offer solution providers the expertise to plan, design, implement and support intelligent SAN solutions that are based on Cisco technology.

This specialization builds on Cisco's pioneering efforts in the SAN switching market, established by the numerous award-winning, industry-first innovations available in the Cisco MDS 9000 family of Multilayer Intelligent directors and fabric switches. It also complements the unique Cisco OSM (Original Storage Manufacturer) Active Go-To-Market Strategy by enabling solution providers to strengthen their relationship with Cisco and its OSM partners, the primary distributors for the Cisco MDS 9000. To that end, Cisco is requiring channel partners who are interested in this specialization to have a resale relationship with at least one of its OSM partners.

"The SAN market is going through a major transition driven by customer demand for SAN fabric consolidation, improved business continuance and disaster recovery," said Edison Peres, vice president of Advanced Technologies, Worldwide Channels at Cisco. "This market transformation requires qualified channel partners to serve an expanding role, representing a tremendous opportunity for these companies. Our Storage Networking Specialization will help our channel partners develop the knowledge and skills to further accelerate customer adoption of Cisco intelligent SAN solutions."

Channel Gains Momentum in SAN Market

According to IDC, within the next three years, major storage systems vendors (such as Cisco OSM partners) will need to develop additional indirect-sales routes through qualified resellers to help meet the growing demand for SAN solutions among end-user companies of all sizes.

"There's no doubt Cisco is leading the transformation of the storage networking market," said Jim Teter, president, Avnet Enterprise Solutions. "Customers seek us out not only because we understand Cisco networking and storage, but also industry-specific requirements. We're working hard to continually build on our 25-plus years experience in the storage marketplace, bringing customers new solutions to protect their information assets."

"We needed a qualified systems integration company that understood our business and could deliver a storage networking solution that enabled our network and servers to work together," said George A.Welton, vice president and chief information officer for Exempla Healthcare. "Avnet Enterprise Solutions provided the project management skills to marry the two technologies together and create a critical link for us to produce a repository of digital images, resulting in improved patient care. Avnet Enterprise Solutions helped to provide a critical patient care platform and that's huge for us."

Storage Networking Specialization

To achieve the Storage Networking Specialization, participating channel partners must be a Cisco Registered Partner, a prerequisite for all partners participating in Cisco channel partner programs. Solution providers can become a Cisco Registered Partner at

In addition, channel partners must fill the following job roles with individuals who have met specific professional certification program requirements: an account manager responsible for sales methodology and customer engagement, a system engineer responsible for storage networking solution plan and design, and a field engineer responsible for storage networking implementation, operation and optimization. Training includes several new Cisco storage certifications now available through the Cisco Qualified Specialist program.

Channel partners who achieve the Storage Networking Specialization also earn 30 points toward certification under the Cisco Channel Partner Program. More detailed information regarding the new specialization is available at:

For more information about individual Cisco Qualified Specialist Certifications for storage networking, visit