Howdy, and welcome to the new improved The VAR Guy and the Channel Partner Program Roundup, our weekly collection of all things channel partner program-related. This week we've got news from Eaton, Solera Networks and Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO), so saddle up and let's ride.

Eaton: The power management company recognized select distribution partners and members of its PowerAdvantage Partner Program with 2012 Partner of the Year Awards, announced during an awards ceremony Jan. 24 in Irvine, Calif.

Partner award recipients were acknowledged by Eaton in the following nine categories for their excellence in performance and achievements during 2012:

Solera Networks: The Big Data security intelligence and analytics for advanced threat protection provider introduced the Solera Networks 20:20 Partner Program, a global channel program enabling network security solution providers to offer services and solutions based on the Solera DeepSee Platform.

The program offers a variety of partner benefits including training, deal registration and real-time customer evaluations and services in the "exploding" Big Data security analytics and advanced threat protection market, according to the company.

Solera Premier Partners and Authorized Resellers receive varied levels of training, inside sales support, deal registration, lead referrals and marketing support. According to Solera, opportunities for increasing revenues and margins include:

  • Professional services: Solera DeepSee supports numerous use cases, including situational awareness, security incident response, continuous monitoring, data loss analysis and monitoring, advanced malware detection and policy compliance. Services are easily built to provide real-time visibility and intelligence into network activity.
  • Integrated solutions: Solera DeepSee builds on traditional prevention-based tools through tight integration with leading network security solutions. DeepSee is available through open software, preconfigured appliance, hosted or virtual form-factors‹allowing partners to offer great deployment flexibility to their customers.

Cisco Systems: The networking vendor announced a redesign of the Cisco associate-level certification programs and the evolution of the CCNA certification to CCNA Routing and Switching certification. The redesign enables the associate-level concentration certifications such as CCNA Routing and Switching, CCNA Voice, CCNA Security, CCNA Wireless, CCNA SP Operations and CCDA to better align with the industry job roles of today and the future, according to Cisco.

Specifically for the CCENT and CCNA Routing and Switching certifications, Cisco has redesigned the training curriculum for the ICND1, ICND2 and CCNAX exams and has introduced new exams for ICND1, ICND2 and CCNA Composite. The updates include comprehensive troubleshooting, technologies such as IPv6, and updated software on Cisco routers and switches.

With the associate-level program redesign, candidates now need to pass only two exams to achieve advanced technology certifications in an accelerated manner with the right job skills. These certifications include:

The following certifications currently require two exams:

For CCDA certification, a valid CCENT certification will be a prerequisite beginning Oct. 1. Basic knowledge of routing and switching is becoming increasingly essential to meet the industry job role requirements of a CCDA.

And that's this week's Channel Partner Program Roundup. Check back next week to make sure we're still around. Until then, stay safe.