Cisco is working on the thirty-third version of its Value Incentive Program (VIP) and will use the change to offer the channel more incentive to sell software.
VIP’s best rebates are currently available for software activations. Cisco wants to change that to encourage the channel to sell more of the new data centre products it has announced.
The most significant new offering is extensions to the company’s ACI software-defined networking tool, which has gained the ability to reach into the cloud. ACI will soon operate on AWS and Azure, with Google Cloud Platform to follow. ACI can already create a logical view of resources inside an organisation. Stretching it into public clouds will make for easier hybrid clouds.
The company has also tied ACI to DNA Centre to ACI, marrying SDN and intent-based-networking so that policies set in the first-mentioned product can determine the behaviour of virtual networks tended by the latter. The result will be the chance to do things like set policies to determine which groups of users are permitted to access applications, with those rules enforced by software-driven network segmentation.
Cisco’s also got an eye on remote offices, branch offices, and the IoT edge, locations for which it has cooked up a new version of its HyperFlex hyperconverged infrastructure. That product can now operate with just two nodes, and that hardware now comes in slim 1U packages. A third node can now operate entirely in the cloud, to add resilience without the need for additional on-premises hardware.
Intersight, Cisco’s server management product, has been enhanced so it can deploy device profiles to many sites running HyperFlex. The company’s vision is therefore to have Level 1 techs at remote sites, but for Intersight to offer head office the chance to do heavier maintenance.
ACI, DNA Center and Intersight will also be offered on new terms that include longer-term deals.
Abhi Singh, Technical Director for Worldwide Sales in Cisco’s Global Partner Organization, told CRN that he thinks partners will appreciate the link between ACI and Intent-based networking, as now that both reach the cloud it meets clients’ needs for hybrid-and-multi-cloud IT.
“We feel that as our partners go from hardware to software, we think the new enterprise agreements will help them build new client relationships, move up the food chain and grow subscription revenue,” he said
To help partners the company will therefore change rebates for software sales and activation.
“As you sell software you will be rewarded better, and as you activate software it will be more profitable,” he said.
One wrinkle: VIP 32 expired on 26 January, but Singh said it would be “a couple of quarters” before the new software incentives appear.