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Cisco knows the way to a channel partner's heart - cold, hard cash. The switch maker this week announced a new program to reward partners who can move certain amounts of Cisco's MDS 9000 line of Fibre Channel storage switches.

The Cisco Clear Advantage Program is aimed at channel partners in the US and EMEA. These companies selling Cisco's gear can pull in up to a 5 per cent rebate on average if they can show 20 per cent year-on-year sales growth of the MDS 9000 switches in a given quarter. This average rebate figure, however, applies to the US only.

Cisco depends on the likes of IBM, HP, Hitachi and EMC to move its Fibre Channel kit. However it's also looking to branch out a bit from these large vendors, and create a stronger channel for its still young gear.

Since launching its Fibre Channel products just a couple of years back, Cisco has steadily taken sales from Brocade and McData. This channel program is an attempt to go even further down the food chain and disrupt its rivals once again.

"We want to reward partners for investing in building a Cisco storage networking practice," said Keith Zubchevich, a director of storage products at Cisco. "By providing a rebate through the Clear Advantage program, Cisco is helping its channel partners increase their profitability and cover costs associated with becoming specialized in the advanced features and functionality available with the Cisco MDS 9000."

Partners will obviously have more incentive to sell Cisco gear with this payout in place. Everyone loves better margins. ®

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