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Is NetApp going to stand by its reseller partners for the long term?

Network Appliance chief executive officer Dan Warmenhoven warned partners they need to sell more of the company’s software and services or risk “being left behind” as the company grows.

In in keynote address at the company’s annual partner summit held this week in San Francisco told partners that they need to increase their commitment to NetApp in order to continue to work with the company.

“You have to lead with NetApp,” Warmenhoven said. “If you walk into an account with a NetApp relationship and are not leading with NetApp, then maybe that relationship will not be there in the future.”

Whatever happened to the Hard Deck mentioned in CRN for resellers that got so much press about two years ago?

Network Appliance is defining which customers can and cannot be approached by its direct-sales reps, CRN has learned.

Under the forthcoming Hard Deck program, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor of SAN and NAS products will work with its channel managers and district sales managers to determine which customers throughout North America will be named accounts targeted mainly by direct sales and which will be channel-exclusive, said Leonard Iventosch, NetApp’s vice president of Americas channel sales.

Or this article…

Leonard began by telling me that he has been at NetApp for about five years. That means he came in at just about the same time that many channel partners were getting screwed by the company by having their primo accounts reassigned to direct-sales androids at the mother company. It is unclear whether Leonard had anything to do with this.

He went on to say that Hard Deck was conceived as a good thing for channels. He went to great pains to say that the line being drawn between ‘big accounts and all the rest’ was not intended to create a no-fly zone for channel guys, but for NetApp guys. This is what was unclear in press accounts of the program – so unclear in fact that several resellers e-mailed me to complain about the program.

If you are a channel guy, everything below the Hard Deck is yours, Leonard said. NetApp direct-sales androids don’t get any commission from this business unless it is filed through a channel partner.

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