Array Networks Looks To Build U.S. Presence Behind New Channel Program

Array Networks this week launched a new partner program, in hopes of not only increasing channel revenue behind its application delivery, acceleration, access and SSL VPN products, but also dramatically upping its stake in the U.S. and Canada, where its presence has been limited.

Founded in 2000 and with headquarters in Milpitas, Calif., the majority of Array's sales come from Asia. The company is particularly strong in China, Japan and India, and had a $79 million initial public offering (IPO) on Taiwan's GreTai Securities Market in 2009.

But according to its top channel and marketing executives, the time has come for a much greater market presence in the U.S. against the many ADC and SSL VPN incumbents, from F5 Networks to Cisco and a host of smaller alternatives.

"Based on our success in the Asian market, we have the resources to attack North America," said Paul Andersen, marketing communications manager at Array, in a recent discussion with CRN. "We've seen tremendous growth in this space and enough growth to sustain multiple companies, and we now have the resources to take our fair share of [that market]."

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The new program, dubbed Array Total Value, is intended for solution providers focused on small-enterprise to large-enterprise customers, especially those in Array target markets like financial services and health care.

The program has two levels -- authorized and premium -- and VAR participation means enhanced training, deal registration, MDF and qualified sales leads. Premium-level partners have marketing and revenue requirements to meet, but receive greater rewards. Partners also have access to 24/7 support and have services and support renewal opportunities, as well.

At least one goal, said Array Director of Business Development Rich Siegel, is to recruit new partners with deep experience in the application delivery channel. In the U.S., array has 30 solution provider partners, and the goal heading into 2012, Siegel said, is to double that number, as well as double Array's channel revenue through its partners.

The company has drawn interest from infrastructure, security and more traditional data center partner bases; it intends to recruit from each, as well as those with vertical specialties like health care, Siegel explained.

According to Ron Renwick, Array channel marketing manager, about 20 percent of Array's total U.S. revenue goes through the channel at present -- a number Array wants to see hit 30 and then 40 over the next 18 months. The company uses two-tier distribution in its other geographies, something it may eventually add in the U.S. as its business ramps up here.

"We see an opportunity because we've done battle in China and India, which are very crowded and price-sensitive markets," Renwick said. "We have products that are extremely cost-competitive, and we know how to leverage that through a channel play, with good margins."

Next: Partner Feedback Strong, Says Array Exec

Among Array's recent product launches is APV 600, a new series of application delivery controllers that debuted earlier this month. The smaller enterprise-geared appliances in the line, the APV2600 and APV5600, offer throughput between 4 and 10 Gbps to support between 4 and 8M concurrent connections, and also integrate SSL acceleration, TCP multiplexing, dynamic caching and other functions.

Higher-end versions -- the APV6600, APV8600, APV9600 -- can support up to 30 Gbps throughput and 16M concurrent connections, compatible with 10 Gigabit Ethernet, IPv6 and other standards and with APIs for VMware integration and other systems. There's an entry-level appliance, too, the 1U-sized APV1600, which covers 2.3 Gbps and 1M concurrent connections.

Partner feedback has been strong, said Renwick. Array is hoping to appeal to VARs looking for security and access products as well as ADC opportunities -- capitalizing on a recent trend in the channel of ADC-savvy solution providers looking to adjacent technology areas, especially security, to provide more comprehensive solutions to customers.

"Now we see people providing SSLs on top of ADCs, for example. You can deliver multiple [functions] in a single application," Renwick said, adding that Array is in conversations with some of the country's top security and infrastructure VARs.

"I absolutely see our partner revenue doubling this year," Siegel explained. "I think we're doing a much better job at lead generation. One of the aspects of the program is generating qualified leads, which by the time we turn them over to partners, we've done the first level of qualification so the partner can walk into someone who's going to express real interest."

The company's made several moves to bulk up its U.S.-based channel and marketing executive teams. Andersen, Siegel and Renwick, for example, are all new to Array within the past year, and Siegel's role did not previously exist at the company.

Bank on more partner resources coming in the next few quarters, they said, including a new partner portal and the growth of Array's three regional channel sales teams in the U.S.

"These investments are to drive our market share in North America and lay out exactly what our program is," Renwick said. "We're putting real skin in the game here."