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EPN 2.0: Extreme Networks partner program gets upgraded

Networking vendor Extreme Networks has enhanced the Extreme Partner Network, adding new incentives and tools for selling into five vertical markets; more IT channel news.

Networking vendor Extreme Networks Inc. revealed enhancements to the Extreme Partner Network (EPN) at its partner conference in Las Vegas this week. Dubbed EPN 2.0, the augmented channel program builds on the foundation Extreme Networks laid in July 2014 after completing its acquisition of Enterasys Networks Inc., and merging the Enterasys and Extreme Networks partner communities.

"The release of the EPN 2.0 program is about strengthening the foundation of what we already have," said Tracy A. Pallas, senior director of Americas channel sales at Extreme Networks, based in San Jose, Calif. The company had three main goals in revamping of the program, she said: improving the total cost of ownership for partners, building more predictability into partners' business, and providing partners with ongoing differentiation and value.

EPN 2.0 introduces incentives that include an updated deal registration program and new rebates that align with how Extreme Networks incents its direct sales teams. "We want [the sales teams] to sell our wired, wireless, analytics and management platforms all together, and both our direct sales teams and indirect sales teams are incented in the same fashion," she said.

Extreme Networks also expanded its training to cover wireless technology and released a Business Transformation Playbook designed to help partners prepare for market transitions, as well as capture cloud and managed services opportunities.

Other enhancements include a formalized, not-for-resale equipment program that provides discounts on products used for demonstrations.

Extreme Networks partner opportunities

The advantages of working with Extreme Networks instead of a competitor, such as Cisco, boils down to the vendor's approach to engaging partners, Pallas said. Whereas Cisco has thousands and thousands of partners worldwide, Extreme engages just a few hundred partners in the U.S. "My direct channel team is focused on less than 100 partners. I am always of the philosophy that I want to do as much revenue with as few partners as possible, so that I become material to their business and they become material to mine," she said.

Tracy Pallas, senior director of Americas channel sales at Extreme NetworksTracy Pallas

Unlike other networking vendors, Extreme Networks focuses on just five vertical markets -- education, healthcare, manufacturing, government, and sports and entertainment -- instead of taking a broad approach to the networking marketplace. To help partners succeed in these vertical markets, the company developed vertical-specific enablement and training, as well as a lead generation program.

Along with the partner program enhancements, Extreme Networks also introduced two managed services this week. MonitoringPlus Managed Services delivers network performance management, while ResponsePlus Managed Services offers deeper engagement with Extreme, as well as proactive support, semiannual reviews and all of MonitoringPlus' features.

"I have a fair number of partners who haven't yet embarked in that managed services arena," she said, adding that reselling Extreme Network's cobranded managed services offers a way into that market.

IT channel news roundup for the week of Oct. 26

A major deal intends to combine Pomeroy with Tolt Solutions, which would create a managed service provider with almost $1 billion in revenue. Other news highlights this week included:

  • Entatech UK Ltd., a distributor in the United Kingdom, will offer Egenera Inc.'s wholesale cloud offering to 5,000 IT-focused resellers under a newly signed contract. The distributor's white-label cloud service is expected to debut in early 2016. Entatech, according to Egenera, aims to become a "one-stop shop for cloud, cloud management, infrastructure, business apps, security, backup and storage as a service." The deal involves Egenera's Xterity Cloud Services, which provide dedicated, managed, private and hybrid cloud services exclusively through channel partners.
  • BlackLine Inc., which provides a cloud platform for finance controls and automation, launched a channel partner program, which the company said is part of its strategy to boost global distribution and address increased demand for its cloud offerings among accounting and finance teams.
  • Ahead of HP's company split into HP Inc. and HP Enterprise, HP released HP Helion OpenStack 2.0, an open source-based cloud platform designed for enterprises, at the OpenStack Summit Tokyo 2015. HP is offering to connect customers with HP Helion-certified service providers and hardware vendors through its HP Helion Ready Program.
  • Managed IT services company Continuum LLC bolstered Continuity247, its backup and disaster recovery (BDR) platform. Continuity 247 now features instant restore for virtual workloads, the choice of hardware or software RAID and desktop support. Users of Continuum's Vault BDR can switch to Continuity247 for free.
  • Lantronix Inc., a networking company providing Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine connectivity technology, signed a distribution agreement with the Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas business region of Avnet Inc. Under the agreement, Avnet will distribute Lantronix's IoT-enabling modules and products in North and South America.

Additional reporting by John Moore.

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