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Cisco Puffs Up Reseller Deals

While Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is bragging that it has launched a new and "innovative" go-to-market strategy for its storage networking products, industry observers say theres really nothing new or innovative about it (see Cisco Gears Up Storage Channel).

As part of what it's calling the Original Storage Manufacturers (OSM) Active program, Cisco has signed deals with EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) to resell its MDS 9000 family of multilayer directors and fabric switches (see EMC, Cisco Do the Deed).

While Cisco’s direct sales force will spread the word about the switches at both the end-user and channel levels, the four so-called OSMs have agreed to be the primary distributors of the Cisco switches.

But analysts say the company is basically going about selling SAN switches the same way SAN switches have traditionally been sold: through channel partners. Cisco's calling its channel partners "OSMs" doesn’t change the fact that these are still channel partnerships, they say.

One analyst, who asked to remain unnamed, points out that storage networking products are generally sold through established vendors and not directly to end users. "This is nothing but a PR announcement from a marketing machine," says the analyst. [Ed. note: Wait -- that's a good thing or a bad thing?]

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