Silver Peak Hires New Channel Chief To Prep For Software-Defined WAN

Bob Bruce

Network and data acceleration technology developer Silver Peak has hired a new channel chief who has vowed to help partners get ready for what he called a coming wave of software-defined WAN acceleration, including bringing partners closer to the company's channel development process.

Bob Bruce, who in mid-December was unveiled by Santa Clara, Calif.-based Silver Peak as its new senior vice president of channel sales, told CRN he wanted to work with a technology developer committed to the channel, and found in the vendor an opportunity to take advantage of his longtime experience in the networking channel.

"I wanted to pick an organization where I can have a definite impact on the company and on the channel," Bruce said.

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Bruce quietly joined Silver Peak in mid-November after a couple years as an independent consultant. Prior to that, he was a channel chief at Aruba Networks, but in 2012 left that company. Before that, he worked in sales and channels at Juniper Networks, Cisco Systems and 3Com.

The role of channel sales vice president is a new one at Silver Peak, Bruce said. In that role, he reports to Chris Helfer, senior vice president of worldwide sales.

Bruce said he joins Silver Peak at a time when the WAN optimization market is at an inflection point as the industry starts to look at software-defined WAN optimization not only as a way to improve enterprise performance and service but as a way to give businesses more control over their networks.

"Enterprises are looking at new ways to deliver services," he said. "WAN optimization is a critical part of the solution. But software-defined WANs allow simplification of path conditioning, simplification of path definition and simplification of security. Silver Peak has a unique approach in its products around software-defined WAN and how we bring solutions to market."

Bruce has the experience to make a huge difference at Silver Peak, a couple of channel partners said.

Bruce gained an excellent channel reputation during his Aruba days, said John Barker, CEO and co-founder of Versatile Communications, a Marlborough, Mass.-based networking solution provider, which started working with Silver Peak in the last couple months.

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Barker told CRN that his 20 years experience in the channel has made it clear that channel executives and channel programs are very important to a vendor's success, and that Bruce demonstrated that idea during his time at Aruba.

"Bruce put the resources in place for us to grow our Aruba business," he said. "He didn't just say he loved us; he backed it up with resources. It's important for vendors to foster channel relationships in the field. Bruce was instrumental in Aruba's success, and I'm excited to see him move to Silver Peak."

Jason Gress, co-founder and president of InterVision Systems, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based solution provider and Silver Peak partner, told CRN he worked with Bruce for years when Bruce was at Aruba and Juniper, and found him to be a very experienced channel executive.

Silver Peak has been making the right investments for a solid foundation of growth, and is seeing success selling software-defined technology vs. hardware appliances, Gress said. That fits well with the industry move toward adopting software-defined data centers and with a desire among customers to move away from a three-year upgrade cycle for WAN optimization hardware, he said.

"Bob brings experience to build a channel organization to take that kind of message to the market," he said. "Silver Peak has had some channel confusion and turnover. But Bob knows how to get the job done while creating opportunities for solution providers."

Bruce said he plans to bring together a number of Silver Peak's channel partners to form the company's first partner council, and then follow up later in the year with the company's first-ever partner summit.

"I don't want to tackle new initiatives like software-defined WANs without partner input," he said. "These partners have made investments in us as a vendor partner. They aren't just reselling products. This is not 1995."