Networking vendor Brocade has fired a shot across the bow of rival Cisco Systems, signing Distribution Central to take the IP/LAN switching products gained through Brocade's acquisition of Foundry Networks to the channel.
Brocade said it would buy Foundry in July last year.
Foundry Networks previously directly sold its IP and LAN switching products that compete with Cisco.
Brocade sells most of its traditional storage networking products through OEM partnerships with the likes of HDS, IBM and HP and the wider networking channel through long-time distribution partner, Lynx.
Graham Schultz, country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Brocade has been in talks with distributors since April.
"Foundry never had a channel mentality, whereas partnering is in our DNA," Schultz said.
"Now that we have taken the Foundry acquisition through the legals etcetera, we are taking their product portfolio to market through a distribution channel structure."
Schultz said he did "a lot of research" into finding the right distribution partners in Australia, and settled on Distribution Central due to its size, coverage and systems. "The way they manage their logistics - their systems - was something we saw a lot of value in," he told CRN.
A high-margin alternative to Cisco
Schultz said that Brocade has a product suite that was a "viable alternative" to Cisco's.
"We have SAN networking, IP networking and converged Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) products," he said. "No major competitor has that spectrum.
"We can also offer a financial opportunity to the channel with a very competitive price for customers, plus better margins which as you know is difficult for most networking partners."
Schultz said that there was a proliferation of networking integrators selling the same Cisco gear, which drove down the price point and any margin they could earn.
Schultz said it was telling that Cisco was developing its own server and FCoE technology, at the expense of its traditional partners, while Brocade was doing the opposite.
"We OEM to HP a converged network adaptor - a combined NIC (network interface card) and HBA (host bus adaptor) in the server, which then connects to a top-or-rack FCoE switch which splits out into Fibre Channel and IP traffic," he said.
"Our philosophy is to be complementary to partners like HP, IBM and Dell, while our competitor has taken the strategy of developing its own IP and server platform, which puts in at a competitive position with other vendors."