Westcon Group, Palo Alto Networks Extend Global Distribution Pact

Westcon Group said Wednesday that it has expanded its relationship with Palo Alto Networks, aiming to give its partners access to new markets and a deeper security portfolio.

The two companies have a long history of working together regionally but Wednesday’s move extends the relationship to more than 40 countries globally. In particular, the expansion will focus on Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions, said Westcon Vice President of Global Sales Path Huth.

"As we develop our solutions practice around the globe, we are really look for the best of breed in our global buyer network to help us grow our practices. As we do that, we take companies like Palo Alto Networks and we look at their innovations and their technology and their desire to grow with a company like Westcon. Together, we provide a pretty powerful solution through our VAR partners to expand their business and grow their revenues in a profitable and easy way, where it makes good business sense to both sides," Huth said in an interview with CRN.

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The partnership is part of the Tarrytown, N.Y.-based distributor's overall strategy to strengthen its relationships with vendors that it sees as having the growth and technology to provide a full portfolio of solutions to its VAR partners, Huth said. While the partnership is not unique to the vendor, Huth said Palo Alto Networks is a great example of the type of company Westcon is looking to build a portfolio around.

"This is a company that we certainly need," Huth said. "The security solutions practice for us is huge now, and it's going to continue to grow. As we see these threats [facing] our various end users around the globe, you can see the importance of having these top-tier security vendors on our line card," he said.

Ron Myers, vice president, Global Channels, at Palo Alto Networks, said the Santa Clara, Calif., company had been dealing with a fragmented global distribution, and its longtime partnership with Westcon plus the distributor's high growth rates made it a natural choice. The new agreement will help Palo Alto Networks build a global reach and improve ease of doing business for customers, he said.

"It was a point we had as an organization. ... We had a very fragmented distribution strategy without a single global distributor. When it comes to looking at our growth rates, we have an obvious need for that type of relationship to our customers," Myers said. "It’s a win-win."

For partners, Westcon's Huth said the continued global expansion is key as many of Westcon's VAR partners have global clients that are looking for consistency in technology delivery around the globe.

"As we're dealing with companies on our VAR teams that wanted to do more and more global business for their engagements, it's important for us to have these product lines in all of our different theaters so if they have an engagement deploying product in Europe [or] Latin America, we're there to support them both with technical [support] and distribution," Huth said.

Mark Greer, president of Hopkins, Minn.-based Milestone Systems, said the solution provider works extensively with both Westcon and Palo Alto Networks and he expects the expanded partnership will "be a great relationship."

Milestone Systems' Palo Alto Networks business has growth "exponentially" over the past 12 to 18 months, Greer said, and the extra support from Westcon has helped facilitate that growth and will accelerate it.

"Because of that exponential growth, it does validate the product and services that both Palo Alto Networks and Westcon provide,’ he said.

"Bottom line, having that support from Westcon as a global and international distributor will be great for us as a partner as well as for Palo Alto Networks," Greer said.