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Solution providers are applauding Palo Alto and Citrix's joint reference architecture and roadmap approach.
"Any time multiple vendors look at documenting how their technologies interoperate, it benefits the partner," Vid Sista, director of the network and security practice for Houston-based Accudata Systems, told CRN. "Typically our customers are looking to us for this type of integration and configuration in their environment, so having the support and documentation from both vendors does help."
Accudata partners with both Palo Alto and Citrix, as well as F5, but Sista said he isn't viewing their partnership in specifically competitive terms.
"I don't see this partnership as a direct response to what other vendors are doing in the market," he said. "I think we'll continue to see synergistic partnerships as vendors look to complement their products to offer a complete solution for customers. As a partner, we typically approach solutions from a business perspective, and it definitely depends on customer needs and what business problems they're trying to solve. A customer will choose a solution based on several factors, which may include whether they have invested in that vendor or a complementary technology already."
Other partners said they see a market battle heating up.
"F5 has been making a lot of noise around security and not exactly staying quiet about how it's taking out Palo Alto and Juniper and the other guys," said the top sales executive at a nationally known partner of both Palo Alto and F5, who requested anonymity. "You have to think you're going to see more of this type of thing. F5 is the market leader in application delivery controllers, so it's natural for smaller market players to band together when it makes sense."