Dell adds desktop virtualization to PartnerDirect mix

Bob Skelley, executive director of global certified partner programs at Dell

, executive director of global certified at

Dell continues to add competencies and specializations under its channel program, introducing a new desktop competency on the eve of ’s VMworld 2012 mega-conference in San Francisco this week.

Although VMworld is clearly a big reason for the timing of the competency’s announcement, the actual content and intent of the new program are much more closely linked to Dell’s acquisition of Wyse earlier this year.

The purchase of the vendor made Dell an instant powerhouse in the growing market, and also gave it an influx of new channel partners well versed in the field.

Bob Skelley, executive director of Dell’s global certified partner programs, said desktop virtualization makes a lot of sense as a competency because desktop virtualization as a solution “really creates a lot of traditional hardware drag” in networking, security, storage, and servers – all areas where Dell and its partners have a lot of interest.

Creating a new competency also allows Dell to make sure its incoming Premier and Select partners “have a place” in PartnerDirect – indeed, Skelley said those partnered will be grandfathered into the new competency, “and we’ll give them a long window to complete any new requirements for the program.” At the same time, Skelley said the program aims to provide a path into the new market area for “traditional” Dell infrastructure partners. “We want to make it easy for new partner to figure out what they need to do to create more expertise around desktop virtualization solutions,” Skelley said. “One of our primary goals is always to help partners expand their skills and abilities.”

To qualify under the new competency, Dell partners will have to train sales and technical resources and commit to an annual revenue run rate of between $500,000 and $750,000, depending on the size of their home country. Partners will also have to have existing relationships (read: certifications) with one or more of the big three virtualization vendors – , , or VMware. “Partner always ask us to recognize us for the investment they’ve already made” with complementary vendors, Skelley observed.

The announcement also comes on the heels of last week’s introduction of a series of zero-client devices and VDI reference architectures, ramping up the company’s message on the heels of its purchase of Wyse.

It also follows closely the introduction of the third prong of Dell’s now three-headed cloud partner program, a Enabler program introduced earlier this month.

Dell’s competencies have taken an increased importance in its growing channel culture since the introduction of its second major revision of PartnerDirect last year, and has been particularly heightened in the light of Dell’s recent push to de-emphasize the commodity PC business in favour of enterprise IT infrastructure of all varieties.

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