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Brocade targets 50% customer growth with channel shake-up

Alex Scroxton
Amanda Giddins - Brocade.jpgBrocade EMEA channel director Amanda Giddins ( pictured) is expanding the storage networking firm's channel teams across EMEA and realigning UK staff to meet growing demand for end-to-end network and data centre installations, and will be targeting substantial growth in customer numbers.

 "We've had to increase the number of channel managers and resource for sales, engineers, pre-sales support and direct touch," Giddins told MicroScope.

Echoing comments made at the end of February by Brocade CEO Michael Klayko, who pledged to sign "hundreds" of new enterprise networking accounts during 2010, Giddins revealed the firm's UK arm hopes to expand its customer base by 50%.

Before its acquisition of its networking arm Foundry Networks, Brocade practiced a predominantly OEM-focused business model and has since invested heavily in bringing a networking channel on-stream.

However, following the vendor's most recent set of quarterly results,concerns were raised about Brocade's ability to maintain the networkingbusiness in the wake of a 13% worldwide dip in sales of Brocade'sEthernet equipment revenues.

Giddins addressed these concerns, conceding that Brocade had seen some challenges, but from aEuropean perspective sequential sales were in fact up.

"Afterthe integration of Foundry it was also necessary to take stock of wherewe were and plan for future movement," she said. "There will be moreinvestment in IP networking."

EuroLAN managing consultant KeithHumphreys said that given Brocade's OEM-focused model, the firm'sslip-up was not surprising, but warned that the vendor will have to domore than expand its own channel teams to make up the lost ground.

"Brocadecan recover from that, but not through Foundry partners. They'll haveto go and recruit elsewhere and get to the Ethernet market through datacentre VARs, which is a better route to market anyway," he said.

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