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Wireless area network (WAN) vendor Silver Peak Inc. has overhauled its global partner program, with an eye on capturing the nascent software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) market.
The partner program is structured with three tiers -- Registered, Ascent and Summit -- and introduces new elements, including a revamped partner portal with sales and marketing tools, SD-WAN sales and technical training, and a Silver Peak mobile app.
"SD-WAN is a new market, and our products address a different problem. And that problem is not performance over distance. The problem is connectivity," said Bob Bruce, senior vice president of worldwide channels at Silver Peak, based in Santa Clara, Calif.
Bruce has worked in sales strategy and channel development for more than 30 years. Before joining Silver Peak in December 2014, he held positions at networking companies that include Aruba Networks, Juniper Networks and Cisco, where he was vice president of U.S. channels and worldwide service provider partners.
"I always like to go into markets … where there's an external factor that is a driver. Well, the driver [in the SD-WAN market] is the cloud. The driver here is applications that you don't host, that are hosted somewhere else in the cloud," he said. Salesforce, Office 365, Concur and Workday are all popular applications that customers access through broadband.
"As a result of the change in the market and … the change in the architecture of the [enterprises'] network, the enterprises are now saying, 'Hey, is there a better way for us to do this? Perhaps we should be implementing broadband in our networking applications to connect our offices together.'"
Betting on the SD-WAN market
Silver Peak is going after the SD-WAN market "with a vengeance," Bruce said. The company has two products on the market: its traditional WAN optimization product and the Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN portfolio.
Derek Dal Ponte, Silver Peak's senior director of channel marketing, admitted not all partners are ready to invest in SD-WAN, but he said Silver Peak is looking for those partners that see it becoming an important technology. "There are definitely a set of partners that are always waiting for the market to come, but there are also those other partners -- the bleeding-edge guys -- that want to get in on the market [early], mark their territory and become the experts in that space," Dal Ponte said.
Bruce said he thinks the SD-WAN market will develop in much the same way Voice over IP (VoIP) did in the late 1990s and early 2000s. "Voice over IP was a different architecture, a different approach to solve a totally different problem, which was connectivity over voice. And I remember going out and talking to partners … And when they were trained, when they understood the opportunity, when they saw where the market was going, they quickly adapted to it," he said.
"The networking channel partner community will quickly embrace a technology when they see a market opportunity. And [VoIP] was one that they saw that they embraced and captured. They will do the same [with SD-WAN]. Now it's up to Silver Peak to win more than our fair share," he said.
IT channel news roundup for the week of Sept. 21
Here's a look at the channel news highlights from the week:
- Distributor Ingram Micro Inc. launched three financial services programs for channel partners in the U.S. The first program, the Lending Club, provides Ingram Micro partners with access to an unsecured line of credit, with flexible payment terms and term business loans up to $300,000. The NOWaccount capital access program aims to help partners increase sales and inventory, pursue larger clients and provide their customers with extended payment terms. The third program, Lease-IT!, allows partners to offer leases with flexible terms and conditions to their customers.
- Metric Insights, a cloud-based business intelligence company, introduced a partner program for system integrators and value-added resellers. The program offers competitive referral fees, discounts on training and products, and early access to new releases.
- In a new partnership, Internet infrastructure services provider Internap Corp. and content-delivery network services provider Akamai Technology have agreed to bundle Internap's cloud, data center and network services with Akamai's cloud security and data center protection services.
- Managed services company Continuum LLC integrated its remote monitoring and management platform with Vorex Inc.'s cloud-based professional services automation (PSA) software. The integration allows for synchronization of tickets and workflows between the two platforms. Vorex is the fifth PSA platform option that Continuum offers its users.
- Continuum and HTG Peer Groups launched two exclusive peer groups for owners and network operating center (NOC) managers. The groups consist of about a dozen member companies. Owners will focus on execution and accountability, while NOC managers will work on leadership and technical growth.
Also this week, CSC buys into ServiceNow cloud with Fruition Partners acquisition.