The 2014 Partner Program Guide offers the information solution providers need to evaluate IT vendors they work with or are considering working with. The guide is based on detailed applications submitted by 200 vendors, outlining all aspects of their partner programs.
5-Star Partner Programs
As part of the Partner Program Guide, The Channel Company designates some programs as 5-Star Partner Programs.
Cloud Vendors, Part 1
Cloud Vendors, Part 2
Software Vendors, Part 1
Software Vendors, Part 2
By Stuart Miniman
Incremental changes in a market rarely lead to disruption. Amongst networking vendors, moving from one generation of product to the next can lead to slight changes in market share as competitors compete with each other with the latest release.
In 2010, I wrote about the Competitive Positioning of Network Adapters, which forecasted that the transition from 1Gb to 10Gb Ethernet would not see dramatic shifts – Intel and Broadcom were the strong leaders in 1Gb while Emulex and QLogic were leaders in Fibre Channel (FC) but only niche players in Ethernet.
While this standard transition has been happening, macro-trends in IT buying have been shifting. A small number of large cloud vendors now make up a significant piece of the overall addressable market. From 2012 to 2013, the ODM server manufacturers that sell into the cloud providers saw 48% growth to take 13% of the total market. Shrinking margins on hardware was a primary reason behind IBM's sale of its x86 business to Lenovo so that it could focus more on its own cloud offerings.
This shift is a backdrop of a deal that saw QLogic acquire Broadcom's 10Gb, 40Gb and 100Gb Ethernet adapter lines. The move will make QLogic the #2 supplier of Ethernet server and storage connectivity (behind Intel) and allows Broadcom to focus on its switching line and other solutions that don’t gain as much leverage from the adapters.
Adapters and cabling are critical components of the network that are typically overlooked except by those who are building the configuration. Cisco’s cabling and optic business is estimated to be between $2B-3B/year and is now an area where customers and competitors are looking for lower-cost alternatives. Most of the development cost of server and storage adapters is in the software, but users often mistake the boards as commodity widgets. The software and hardware of adapters does not share a lot of common elements with the switch counterparts.
In the last year, QLogic has sold off its InfiniBand switch business to Intel and ended development of its FC and Ethernet switch lines; and subsequently does not compete anymore with either Broadcom or Brocade (whose adapter businesses QLogic acquired). QLogic has strong OEM relationships, which includes most of the storage (target) design wins for both FC and Ethernet – and there is good leverage between the target and adapter (initiator). The Broadcom assets allow QLogic to deliver 40Gb and 100Gb Ethernet RDMA, which are important for Microsoft SMB and new flash solutions such as Dell FluidCache for SAN. QLogic will need to move fast to prevent Mellanox, the InfiniBand leader whose Ethernet adapters now make up 15% of its revenue, from gaining any more momentum with RDMA solutions.
On a financial call, new QLogic CEO Prasad Rampali stated that these moves will allow for the company to move from being just a connectivity player to a platform for both enterprise and cloud customers. Intel continues to deliver more of the data center on a single chip, which can be threatening to some technology partners. This gives QLogic an opening to create a differentiated solution that leverages its technology and expands partnerships. Additionally, large cloud providers are more flexible with buying decisions, which is a double-edged sword – it gives an opening to win business based on new features or better cost, but it is a recurring battle.
By Bert Latamore
QLogic has purchased Broadcom's 10 Gb, 40Gb and 100Gb Ethernet adapter lines. This, added to its earlier acquisition of Brocade's adaptor business, moves it into the #2 slot in the market, behind Intel, while freeing Broadcom to focus on its switches and other solutions that gain little leverage from the adapters, writes Wikibon Principal Research Contributor Stuart Miniman. The sale, he writes, should be seen in the context of IBM’s sale of its x86 product lines to Lenovo,allowing it to focus on its cloud services, and of the increasing impact of a few large cloud vendors on the high speed Ethernet market.
In the last year QLogic sold its InfiniBand switch business to Intel and ended development of its FC and Ethernet switchlines, so that today it no longer competes with Broadcom or Brocade. The acquisition allows QLogic to deliver 40 Gb and 100Gb Ethernet RDMA, important for Microsoft SMB products and new flash solutions such as Dell FluidCache for SAN. It makes QLogic the Intel alternative for players concerned about Intel dominance in the data center.
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By Dave Raffo
QLogic's acquisition of Ethernet controller assets from Broadcom this week won’t have much immediate effect on storage, but it could become important in a few years
The $147 million deal will give QLogic 40-gigabit and 100-gigabit Ethernet, RDMA and virtualization technologies it currently lacks. QLogic also gets about 170 engineers in the deal, and claims the Broadcom portfolio makes it No. 2 in the Ethernet controller market behind Intel.
What makes the deal interesting is QLogic's long-term roadmap. During a conference call to explain the deal, QLogic executives laid out plans to add services such as caching, replication, deduplication, encryption and monitoring on converged Ethernet-Fibre Channel controllers. That would turn QLogic from a network connectivity vendor to a platform vendor.
The first step is to port the Mt. Rainier caching technology used on QLogic's Fabric Cache FC host bus adapters to Ethernet cards. FabricCache serves as a caching SAN adapter. A Cluster of FabricCache cards can access all the combined caches in that cluster.
The other features on QLogic's roadmap – all important in storage and data protection – will follow. The process will likely take at least three years to complete the entire list, and a lot can happen in that time. One thing that can happen is features like replication, dedupe and encryption will already be common in storage products by then.
Vikram Karvat, QLogic VP of marketing, admitted those features are likely to be built into high-end storage arrays by then, but he said they will fit into other platforms.
"Some things that are considered high-end features are migrating into other markets, such as private or public clouds, or appliances,” he said. “This will allow non-traditional providers to add them."
QLogic Corporation announced that the Titusville, PA. School District has implemented its FabricCache solution to maximize the performance and scalability of the district's virtual desktop initiative and overall IT infrastructure, and realize immediate and long-term savings on current and future IT investments.
The Titusville School District supports 2,200 students from elementary through high school across six campuses. The core IT infrastructure delivers applications through leased lines and a private fiber optic network connecting the campuses 1,400 desktop PCs, laptop PCs, netbooks and tablet computers. Despite replacement and upgrade policies at the district, aging equipment coupled with a growing number of devices was hampering classroom productivity, slowing application response times and frustrating students and faculty.
The Titusville IT team launched a virtual desktop initiative and realized that architecting a district-wide deployment took more resources than they had in-house. The district turned to Cross IT Services & Solutions, LLC, a QLogic Advanced Solutions Partner specializing in virtualization technology and the education market, to help develop and implement a plan. QLogic Advanced Solutions Partners receive well-rounded business, technology and consultancy training to help ensure customers improve business results by reaping benefit from technology investments.
"To bridge the gap between fast application performance and aging PCs, we recommended virtual desktop software from VMware and FabricCache adapters from QLogic," said Thomas Breakiron, manager of technical services, Cross IT. "Virtual desktop implementations require storage solutions with a large number of high performance HDDs to effectively replace desktop PCs. With the need for such a large investment in storage, the overall savings would have been minimal. By adding FabriCache adapters with flash memory, we reduced PC replacements and cut down on the number of expensive drives required. This subsequently reduced power usage and significant cooling and maintenance costs, resulting in substantial savings."
FabricCache is a caching SAN adapter, combining the QLogic FC adapter, intelligent caching and I/O management with a server-based PCIe flash card. The FabricCache solution exceeds the performance possible from traditional SAN-based technology with a design that enables acceleration of virtualized and clustered applications without changes to existing server software or infrastructure. With a FabricCache adapter capable of 300,000 IO/s of performance versus only 180 IO/s for a HDD drive, the district was able to increase performance and drive down costs for Titusville by using a handful of FabricCache adapters instead of multiple trays of disk drives.
With VMware Horizon View desktop virtualization software, old PCs became dumb displays and no longer needed beefy processing power and memory capacity to run the resource-intensive applications used by the schools. Virtual desktop servers send individual screens over the network, which are painted on each user's PC, netbook or tablet.
"Virtual desktops and FabricCache made old PCs blazing fast again, and the useful life of computers was doubled - slashing replacement costs," said John Frye, director of technology, Titusville Area School District. "The lower cost of FabricCache delivered immediate cost-savings for the Titusville School District, versus a multi-year return-on-investment approach using disk drives for storage. The cost savings resulted in freeing substantial funds for network and server infrastructure improvements and other important initiatives."