Value-added distributor Westcon Group is getting friendlier with network storage company Brocade Networks. After recently adding Avaya VSP to its portfolio, Westcon now is carrying the entire networking portfolio of Brocade globally. With storage networking needs on the rise, it's a smart move. The VAR Guy spoke to Patty Gray, VP of global vendor relationships at Westcon Group, for a deep dive on the news ...

First, you'll want to know what's on Westcon's Brocade menu: Tasty delights including 16Gbps and 8Gbps Fibre Channel devices, Ethernet fabric switches, SAN transceivers and Brocade's Network Advisor are all available for partner consumption. And those are just the highlights, because as The VAR Guy previously noted, Brocade's entire networking portfolio is now available. Yum.

Gray provided some of the less-technical details around the growing Westcon-Brocade relationship, laying out three key points. First point: "It's global," said Gray. "[At the start] Weston worked with Brocade primary in North America, and focused on IP products only. But we've had an excellent global relationship with Brocade. So it's a natural evolution," and the decision to expand to entire networking portfolio global is a "big deal."

Second point: SAN is where it's at. "The SAN/switch/adapter market is big [and] SAN technology is the key technology for the next decade," she said. Brocade is a market leader, Gray added, so Westcon naturally wants to align itself to position for optimal growth. According to Westcon's press release announcing the Brocade expansion, the SAN switch market could triple over the next four years.

Third point: The Westcon LEAP (Learn, Experience, Architect and Plan Centers-of-Excellence) Centers, which will include the Brocade technology, are a unique resource for partners working in the data networking space. Other distributors don't all have a wide array of locations that allow for hands-on training, she said, and because Westcon does, "... partners can come and see multiple types of technology and actually architect their data center environment."

Gray noted she's found partners are frequently looking to consolidate the amount of people they do business with, and Westcon's continued relationship with Brocade is a great way to help partners do that.

"We're going to continue to expand our partnership with Brocade. That's a given," she said.