WAN Op Startup Aryaka Looks To Grow Global Channel, Continue Riverbed Buyback Program

As it continues to gain traction in the market, WAN optimization startup Aryaka is looking to grow its global channel footprint and continue turning up the heat on rival Riverbed Technology.

"We look at ourselves as a technology company, and that is what we do well," said Sonal Puri, vice president of marketing, sales and alliances at Aryaka. "The goal is, at some point in the future, to be 100 percent channel or as close as possible to 100 percent channel."

Aryaka, a provider of WAN optimization-as-a-service, does roughly 25 percent of its business through the channel today, Puri said, with about 30 reseller partners around the globe. The Milpitas, Calif.-based company launched its Emergence partner program in 2011 for solution providers and referral agents, and also has a separate partner program, called Fusion, for service providers.

[Related: Riverbed Rebrands Product Portfolio, Looks To Broaden Reach Beyond WAN Op ]

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According to Puri, the goal is to eventually move all of Aryaka's business indirect, especially as it looks to scale. Puri said Aryaka currently has "hundreds" of customers across more than 3,000 sites in almost 50 countries. The company also grew its subscription revenue, year-over-year, by 158 percent in the second half of 2013.

"The first couple of years, even though we grew really well, was just feeling the market and educating the market. It was more evangelism than sales. But now we've seen over the last 12 months that business is just exploding."

Aryaka on Tuesday also said it's received $10 million in Series D funding from existing investors InterWest Partners, Presidio Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, Trinity Ventures and Mohr Davidow Ventures. The company's total funding to date is $64 million.

Aryaka specializes in WAN optimization-as-a-service, an emerging market trend where WAN optimization is delivered as a cloud-based service rather than through a hardware appliance. The company also introduced in April its cloud network-as-a-service, another hosted service meant to streamline organizations' access to private and public clouds. It works by arming users with a dedicated and low-latency network to help guarantee the performance of cloud services, regardless of where those services are hosted.

NEXT: Disrupting The Competition

Puri said Aryaka will continue to take steps to disrupt WAN optimization market leader Riverbed. Aryaka last year, for example, launched a Riverbed buyback program, offering Riverbed customers the chance to turn over their Riverbed Steelhead appliances in exchange for an Aryaka WAN optimization-as-a-service subscription.

The program works by allowing existing Riverbed customers to exchange their equipment for up to 100 percent of the remaining value as amortized over 36 months. Those customers will then receive service credits that can be applied to the Aryaka service.

Puri said a "handful" of customers have participated in the program, many of them replacing between two and 10 Riverbed appliances.

Larry Chaffin, CEO of Pluto Networks, a Columbus, Ohio-based solution provider, said he used to partner with Riverbed, but switched last year to Aryaka. He told CRN that the real value in Aryaka is that its WAN optimization-as-a-service offering not only replaces WAN acceleration hardware, but can also be used to replace the MPLS networks provided by telecom service providers, resulting in big cost savings for end customers. It also opens up a recurring opex model for both customers and partners, he said.

"I think [Aryaka's] product really brings to light the problems people are seeing with WAN acceleration and with telco vendors, because not only does Aryaka replace WAN acceleration vendors but it also replaces telco's MPLS, and those are huge costs for companies," Chaffin said. "They give you a capex-free model and with all the customers we have done trials with, they love it."