Barracuda Revamps, Rebrands CudaTel: New Barracuda Phone System In The Ring

Barracuda Networks this week revamped and rebranded its CudaTel Phone System, now known as the Barracuda Phone System. The upgraded telephony product aims to allow partners to reach more customers and sell into businesses requiring next-generation communications for global locations they couldn't previously reach, according to the Campbell, Calif.-based company.

In addition, the Barracuda Phone System is now SIP-certified and can be configured to work with AT&T's SIP trunking service, IP Flexible Reach.

New technology systems – like IP-based telephony systems – are not always universally accepted by carriers, said Gary Nichols, CEO of Interdev, an Atlanta-based MSP and Barracuda partner.

[Related: Former Barracuda Networks CEO Acquires Cloud Access Control Company For $50M]

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"With AT&T being one of the largest carriers in the country, and us not being able to put Barracuda phones on some of the circuits, that was a big deal," Nichols said. "Having the acceptance of such a large carrier is a major step forward."

This means that partners will be able to put more Barracuda phone systems in more customer sites, he said. "You can't sell a customer a phone that's not on a carrier's approved list, and that's been a challenge we've had for a while -- we had no choice but to use a different product. This [update] opens a lot of doors," he said.

The SIP certification will be an attractive feature for customers who rely on AT&T for connectivity, according to Ken Grohe, senior vice president and general manager of emerging products for Barracuda. Grohe said the phone system also will work with SIP trunking services from other major carriers, which will allow Barracuda to expand its reach into new geographic areas -- especially international locations.

"It's going to open up a lot of avenues for the regular VAR who's been thinking that selling phone systems is a hassle and wants it to be easier. The new system will help them make some money and some gross margins because they can sell it like they were selling a server," he said.

Barracuda sells its products and services almost exclusively through the channel.

The Barracuda Phone System's Web-based user interface for IT administrators makes management easy, especially for MSPs, Interdev's Nichols said. All of Barracuda's products can be managed from the same interface.

"It's very intuitive and very easy to use," he said. "You don't have to be a telephony expert to sell and support this product, and our customers don’t have to be telephony experts, either."

IT administrators will appreciate the ease of use of the new system, Barracuda's Grohe added.

"We designed the phone with the IT administrator in mind. Some organizations have one IT person, and no phone person, and that IT [administrator] is under a lot of stress taking care of all the IT needs. We designed the phone system for that [IT administrator] who can [deploy] the appliance and run it as if they were running a backup, or database server – they can set it and forget it," he said.

The Barracuda Phone System also has a new Command Center feature that lets end users select how they initiate, receive and respond to communications from their PCs via a drag-and-drop feature on a customizable interface.

"Command Center allows users to keep their heads up, initiate or answer communications from their screen where their eyes are all day to maximize productivity," Grohe said.

Going forward, Barracuda is making a distinction between its physical and cloud-based products. Any product name that contains "Barracuda" will be a physical appliance, and any product name that starts with "Cuda" reflects a virtualized, or cloud-based offering, Grohe said.