Traffic Management Vendors Target Channel with New Programs, Products

NetScaler next week plans to roll out a revamped partner program as part of an ongoing effort to strengthen and grow its distribution channel.

With the update, NetScaler for the first time will classify its partners through a multi-tiered program with varying discount levels, said Arif Razvi, director of worldwide channels at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company.

The new NetConnect program includes three tiers distinguished by partners' NetScaler product sales volumes and technical expertise: Authorized, for small regional partners with under $250,000 in sales; Gold, for regional or national partners with up to $500,000 in sales; and Platinum, for national partners with up to $1 million in sales.

The program also includes a Master Distributor designation for national partners willing to make a $1 million sales commitment.

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NetConnect said margins start at 28 percent.

By moving to a tiered channel strategy, NetScaler can now reward partners that add value rather than just push boxes, said Jim Murphy, regional director at Nexl Network Systems, a solution provider based in Peabody, Mass.

"With the level of resources we internally dedicate to a company, we'd like to see that paid back in some way," Murphy said.

Since the beginning of the year, NetScaler has grown its ranks of active channel partners to 50, up from 10, Razvi said. At the same time, the company has seen channel sales grow to 30 percent of new bookings in the third quarter, up from just eight percent in the first quarter, he said.

The company this week also plans to fill out the low end of its product portfolio with the launch of its Secure Application Accelerator line of entry-level traffic management solutions.

"We're giving to our channel partners a product at a lower entry point with a simpler configuration," said Mark Weiner, vice president of worldwide marketing at NetScaler.

The appliances provide secure remote access through SSL VPN capabilities and improve Web application performance by offloading encryption, compression and TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) processing from network servers, company executives said.

Pricing for Secure Application Accelerator, scheduled for general availability by the end of this month, start at $9,999.

Competitor Redline on Monday introduced Redline OverDrive, a new control environment for its Web acceleration and application processing appliances.

The appliances offload functions from the network such as load balancing, SSL acceleration and compression.

The new feature, available as a software upgrade for the vendor's E/X enterprise application processor and T/X Web I/O processor, enables the creation of "if/then" statements to better control content delivery and fix problems on-demand, said Craig Stouffer, vice president of marketing at Redline, Campbell, Calif.

"The OverDrive functionality allows integrators to do a level of customization to the box and to the solution and then charge for those services," Stouffer said.

For example, solution providers can help customers establish rules for the system to follow when server transaction errors occur, such as resending a request, checking specified alternate servers or canceling the request and instructing the end user to try again.

"We can create a better fit, a more exacting fit for [customers'] applications," said Otis Horton, president of Set Solutions, a solution provider in Houston, Tex.

The OverDrive control environment is available now as a free upgrade through the end of the year. Pricing after that will be $5,000 per box.