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F5 saw about 35 percent percent year-over-year revenue growth from FY09 ($653 million) to FY10 ($882 million), and projects revenue between $265 million and $270 million for its fiscal first quarter 2011.
According to Gartner, it commands 61 percent share as the No. 1 player in the application delivery control market, and with a $1 billion run rate, said Darwin, things are "all going in the right direction."
Its success has made it attractive; among major hires in 2010, F5 pried David Aronica, now senior director of worldwide field readiness, away from years of partner enablement executive roles at VMware.
On the channel side, F5 has been successful in recruiting many of the national and global VARs well-entrenched with some of its rivals. Johannesburg, South Africa-based Dimension Data -- one of Cisco's top global strategic partners -- finally signed on with F5 in November 2010 after what Darwin described as five years of wooing.
Its longtime partners have celebrated the company's gains, too; many F5 VARs told CRN during last year's F5 partner conference that their business with the vendor had increased more than 100 percent even during a tough economic year.
The recession caused many solution providers to re-evaluate their practices, Darwin noted, but many also pushed their practices away from integrated solutions and back toward siloed technologies they knew they could sell in tough times.
That might have helped keep business afloat, Darwin said, but it also meant they missed opportunities to provide integrated solutions -- networking and virtualization, say -- and expand their value proposition.
"Many got caught off guard," Darwin said. "You have your FishNets and your Accuvants who did expand their offerings, and where did they take their market share from? The ones that didn't do it correctly."