News Release

Cisco Launches Channel Partner Program to Accelerate the Adoption of the Cisco MDS 9000 and Increase Channel Partner Profitability

Cisco Launches Channel Partner Program to Accelerate the Adoption of the Cisco MDS 9000 and Increase Channel Partner Profitability Cisco Clear Advantage Rewards Channel Partners For Developing Cisco Storage Practice
Feb 22, 2005

SAN JOSE, Calif., February 22, 2005 - As part of its continuing effort to help accelerate channel partner growth, Cisco Systems® today announced the Cisco® Clear Advantage Program, the first Cisco program that rewards channel partners for achieving incremental growth targets when selling the Cisco MDS 9000 series of multilayer intelligent directors and fabric switches, the award-winning storage area networking (SAN) switching platforms now available globally.

Clear Advantage is a rebate program designed to reward Cisco channel partners that have expertise in storage technology and to grow the base of Cisco SAN Specialized partners. Channel partners are required to become Cisco SAN Specialized by the end of the second quarter of participation in the program. Launched last June, the Cisco SAN Specialization helps ensure that channel partners have a proven expertise to plan, design, implement and support solutions based on the Cisco MDS 9000.

"We want to reward partners for investing in building a Cisco storage networking practice," said Keith Zubchevich, director of Storage, Worldwide Channels at Cisco Systems. "By providing a rebate through the Clear Advantage program, Cisco is helping its channel partners increase their profitability and cover costs associated with becoming specialized in the advanced features and functionality available with the Cisco MDS 9000."

The Clear Advantage program complements the unique Cisco OSM (Original Storage Manufacturer) Active Go-To-Market Strategy by enabling solution providers to strengthen their relationship with its OSM partners, the primary distributors for the Cisco MDS 9000. Channel partners will continue to source storage products from one or more Cisco OSM partners.

"We are pleased that the Cisco Clear Advantage program will not only reward us for our storage practice commitment, but it will also help us grow our overall revenue and deliver profitable storage services to our clients," said Richard Wedel, Chief Marketing Officer of Micro Systems Enterprises, a Cisco Gold Certified Partner.

"As part of our deep partnership with Cisco, we see this program as an opportunity to provide our business partners additional benefits to help customers simplify their infrastructures," said Denise Buonaiuto, Vice President, Global Business Partners, IBM Systems and Technology Group. "With the Cisco Clear Advantage Program, we will enable our mutual customers through our partner community the opportunity to deploy state-of-the-art technology that can help increase productivity, reduce operating expenses and gain a competitive advantage."

Clear Advantage Program Requirements

In order to qualify for the Cisco Clear Advantage Program, channel partners must be Cisco Registered Partners. The rebate is paid based on meeting the entry-level criteria, milestone criteria and achieving the revenue goals during the entire period in which the partner participates in the Clear Advantage program including submitting a comprehensive business plan and becoming a Cisco SAN Specialized partner. In order to participate in the program's first two quarters, partners must apply by March 21, 2005. The Clear Advantage Program is currently available in the United States and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) sales regions. However, each region's program initiatives and prerequisites are customized based on local market needs. For more information about the Cisco Clear Advantage program go to