VeloCloud Unveils First Partner Program, Brings WAN-as-a-Service To Channel

Networking startup VeloCloud Wednesday rolled out its first partner program, as it looks to drive sales of its cloud-based wide area network (WAN) exclusively through the channel.

The new VeloCloud Partner Program is targeted at managed services providers (MSPs) and IT solution providers looking to deliver hybrid branch WANs, cloud-based networking capabilities and a range of managed services to midsize and large enterprise customers.

Los Altos, Calif.-based VeloCloud, fresh off a $21 million round in investor funding, aims to reinvent the enterprise WAN by delivering branch infrastructure as a cloud-based service instead of traditional hardware appliances.

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The idea, according to the company, is to extend the benefits that trends like cloud and virtualization have brought to the data center into the enterprise or branch office WAN.

Out of the gate, VeloCloud is looking to recruit partners who can help drive adoption of its service in key verticals, including retail, hospitality, engineering, and mining and gas, said VeloCloud CEO and founder Sanjay Uppal.

"We have put together solution documents and use cases that partners can use when they go and solicit companies that are in these verticals," Uppal said. "So we are helping partners both to open the door, and, if the door is already opened, to be able to show those customers very quickly what benefit the enterprise can get from the VeloCloud solutions."

Partners in the VeloCloud Partner Program will be segmented into three tiers: Platinum, Gold and Silver. Uppal said VeloCloud partners at the Platinum level, the highest of the three, will be partners who have the most "skin in the game," meaning those who have dedicated the most resources to selling and supporting the VeloCloud service and are most active when it comes to uncovering new deals.

"It is a real partnership," Uppal said. "When we select these partners, or the partners select us, we are basically saying we are going after this together."

Platinum and Gold partners will also be differentiated based on VeloCloud sales volume, Uppal said, while the lowest-level Silver partners will be purely "transactional" and not held to any volume commitments.

As partners move up the ranks, perks like MDF and discounts are sweetened, Uppal said. Partners at the Platinum tier will also have access to a dedicated member of the VeloCloud marketing team, in addition to their channel manager.

Platinum and Gold partners will also have access to VeloCloud MSP portal, a multi-tenant dashboard from which they can monitor, control and troubleshoot their customers' VeloCloud networks. Uppal said partners can also use the portal to prioritize and ensure the best possible performance, for a customer's mission-critical applications on-the-fly. They can also set access controls to make certain applications, such as Facebook, available only to certain users or during specific times of the day.

"For a partner that is just used to selling products and being there for support, this makes them a service provider," Uppal said. "For partners that are already service providers, it extends their reach."

Uppal said the end customer decides how much access to give a solution provider via the VeloCloud MSP portal, based on the extent of the configuration and monitoring services they would like to receive.

Customers sign up for VeloCloud's cloud-based WAN through a one-, two- or three-year contract. They pay for the service as a monthly subscription, but Uppal said partners will be paid an upfront commission on each sale, instead of in monthly installments.

VeloCloud, which plans on selling its cloud services 100 percent through the channel, has already signed on 30 solution providers to join the VeloCloud Partner Program. Uppal said his goal is to have roughly 80 Platinum and Gold partners alone within the next six to nine months.

"There is a movement in the channel industry for people to really look at the subscription economy with much more interest than they were in the past," Uppal said. "We think we are catching the wave at the right point."