Long haul optical networking vendor Ciena wants to use the channel to break into the enterprise market, following its $397.8m acquisition of metro optical networking equipment maker ONI Systems.
The company has expanded its product range and now wants the channel to increase awareness of its name in the enterprise space. The move puts it in direct competition with companies such as Alcatel and Nortel.
Ciena has ground to make up in the enterprise space and resellers are being seen as key to unlocking the potential that this market offers.
"No-one has heard of us in the enterprise sector because we traditionally supply the big carriers with hard optical transmission systems," said Stuart Payne, director of channel sales at Ciena.
"Our product range has now expanded to the edge of customer networks, but we do not have any visibility in this market."
Ciena is now taking its optical transport devices to market in a bid to enable storage providers, such as IBM and EMC, to offer storage online.
Manny Pinon, sales and marketing director at distributor Norwood Adam, warned that that Ciena faces a challenge.
"It is a tough market because it can take a long time to get a return on channel investments. If Ciena is not quick enough, what will be its contingency plan?" he asked.
Ciena explained that it will sell directly to resellers to avoid conflict and keep margins high. "At the moment we will sign resellers to cover certain geographical marketplaces," said Payne.
But Pinon said: "By not using the two-tier channel model Ciena is showing naivete.
"The resellers it will deal direct with will give it exposure in a small part of a market, whereas the two-tier model would give it more exposure through more resellers."
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