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Data Performance Specialist SentryOne Plots Big Boost In Channel Sales

CEO Bob Potter tells CRN that the vendor is looking to grow its sales through resellers and MSPs with channel program enhancements and aggressive margins.

SentryOne, a fast-growing data performance management vendor focused on the Microsoft ecosystem, is looking to accelerate its sales through the channel this year through an enhanced channel program and attractive margins, SentryOne CEO Bob Potter said in an interview with CRN.

Charlotte, N.C.-based SentryOne saw $30 million in revenue in 2018, up 40 percent from 2017, and the company is expecting to grow another 40 percent this year.

[Related: Microsoft Channel Chief Reports Uptick In Partner Additions, CSP Growth]

While SentryOne had not been active with channel partners for much of its history, that began to change when Potter, formerly an executive at companies including Qlik, took the reins as CEO in October 2017. Last year, SentryOne saw 20 percent of its revenue go through the channel—and for 2019, the plan is to increase revenue through the channel to 30 percent, Potter told CRN.

"We're growing at 40 percent per year, so it's 30 percent of a much larger number that is going to run through the channel in some way, shape or form," Potter said. "It's an enormous opportunity for somebody that wants to get on the bus and make some money."

To support the channel growth, SentryOne made major investments into its partner portal last year, including enhancements to online training and certifications, along with investments into white-label marketing content that partners can put their own brands onto, Potter said.

Margins for resellers are in the range of 20 percent to 30 percent, and between 5 percent and 10 percent for referral partners, which Potter said are "competitive" in the data performance management space. SentryOne is best known for its flagship product SQL Sentry, which previously was the name of the company. Top competitors include SolarWinds, Idera, Quest Software and Redgate.

SentryOne focused its channel efforts in 2018 on signing up new partners, and now counts 201 partners in its community.

"Now the challenge is to make them successful, and also to build channel-ready products," Potter said.

SentryOne brought in a number of new products last year through its acquisition of DevOps specialist Pragmatic Works Software. The combined company now offers a total of 16 products, and has 3,300 active customers.

In recent years, SentryOne has expanded beyond on-premises Microsoft SQL Server to Azure data assets such as Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, Azure SQL Data Warehouse and other Azure data properties, Potter said.

"We tend to do well with customers that are looking for a premium solution, that need to scale to hundreds if not thousands of SQL Server and Azure SQL database instances," Potter said. "We exist to improve the lives of Microsoft data professionals. We're trying to make it easy for them to do their jobs. They're overloaded, particularly DBAs [database administrators]. We're giving them tools that help them do their jobs better."

SQL Sentry is a monitoring system for databases that have moved into deployment, which helps to maintain strong performance by keeping tabs on elements such as whether there's enough memory and whether queries are running properly.

Mike Walsh, founder and president of Wakefield, N.H.-based Straight Path Solutions, said that SQL Sentry has been his "go-to tool" in data performance management in recent years.

The tool "helps take us into a proactive stance" for customers, Walsh said. Meanwhile, the margins offered by SentryOne are "pretty aggressive," he said.

SentryOne "really listens to the community, and really understands SQL Server," Walsh said. "It's made me a lot more effective for my clients. There's a good story to be told [about SentryOne] to other channel partners."

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