Exinda Strives To Make Its U.S. Channel Mark

“Customers are becoming more dependent on their WANs [and] their applications. They&'re becoming more ‘Webified&' with remote users and they&'re finding the need to save money while being able to control performance without adding bandwidth,” said Hillel Sackstein, president of Virtual Graffiti, a solution provider in Irvine, Calif.

An Australian start-up with U.S. headquarters in Seattle, Exinda this year aims to expand its North American presence. As part of that effort, the company this fall named Neil McIrvin vice president of channels for North America and launched its first formal partner program.

With its new channel program, Exinda has created two partner levels. The first level, Authorized Partner, requires partners to participate in technical and sales training and purchase demo equipment. It carries no volume commitment and affords 25 percent margins to solution providers. The second level, Premium Partner, includes an annual $300,000 volume commitment and provides 35 percent margins as well as a rebate program, joint marketing program, lead distribution and a dedicated account manager, McIrvin said.

Exinda currently counts about 50 worldwide channel partners among its solution provider base and is now actively recruiting network integrators, particularly those with skills around VoIP, which McIrvin said is one of the top drivers behind growing WAN optimization sales because of the high-level network performance it requires. “Especially in VoIP, a lot of channel companies want to do network assessments,” McIrvin said. “It&'s a complementary product that goes along with VoIP installations.”

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As a relatively small company—Exinda thus far boasts 1,000 installations of its products worldwide—the vendor is able to devote time and attention to its channel partners. For example, Exinda works with each of its North American channel partners to create customized sales collateral that carries the look and feel of the partner&'s own branding, McIrvin said. “It makes the comfort level within that reseller&'s customer base very strong.”

Aside from its sales strategy, another key attraction is the technology itself, solution providers said. The product portfolio that started with the Exinda 4700 traffic management appliance for medium and large offices expanded last month to include the Exinda 6700 core box for enterprises with connection requirements of up to 500 Mbps, and the Exinda 1700 traffic management appliance for small and branch offices with connection speeds of no more than 2 Mbps. The product line also includes URL-level monitoring capabilities that enable customers to discover, by user, what Web sites are sucking up the most network bandwidth.

“Customers believe that the amount of [employee] abuse of the network is negligible,” said Richard Bryer, associate with IT Channel Group, an Exinda partner in Toronto. “But as soon as the device loads up, it discovers something there that shouldn&'t be. It&'s usually unforeseen,” he said.

Solution providers working with the company said the vendor&'s November launch of the Exinda 1700 potentially opens explosive growth opportunities, as the branch office-focused appliance comes with a sub-$1,000 list price.

“Now we&'ve got a product that we can target at 30-, 40-, 50-user networks,” Virtual Graffiti&'s Sackstein said. “At that price point, there&'s nothing on the market that can compare,” he said.

Sackstein said the SMB market, specifically businesses with multiple offices tied together via VPN, could prove to be a fertile space for Exinda.

“These companies typically have no budget for large WAN links, but they can now use a standard WAN link [and still get solid performance],” Sackstein said.