CRN Exclusive: Arista, Talari Channel Leaders Jump Ship To Pluribus Networks

Ready to pounce on the growing software-defined networking market, Pluribus Networks has hired a pair of channel veterans to lead its North American sales charge as it strives to become a 100 percent channel company.

Todd Dalton, a former North American channel leader at Arista Networks, will help lead the channel charge as its new senior director of America channel sales West at the SDN startup, the company said. Before Arista, Dalton worked nearly a decade at Juniper Networks as a senior partner sales manager.

"The huge growing SDN space is going to reach broad-based adoption, and we would like nothing more than to find go-to partners in every region in the country and make them widely successful," said Dalton, in an interview with CRN. "The technology is here. The pieces are here, and I'm just going to continue to work my craft and what I've been doing for 20 years."

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The global data center and enterprise SDN market rose 82 percent in 2015 from the year before, reaching $1.4 billion, according to research firm IHS. IHS says the demand of SDN-capable Ethernet switches, controllers, SD-WAN appliances and management solutions will continue to ramp up over the next few years.

Dalton plans to drive greater SDN adoption and recurring revenue for its channel through Pluribus' recently enhanced VCF Insight Analytics Version 1.5.

"It's the perfect insertion solution they can monetize today and reach an addressable market that's in need of business intelligence on the network. … VCF is a fantastic position for partners to move forward with SDN," Dalton said.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup has changed its compensation model so that Pluribus sales reps receive higher compensation if they work with a partner, compared with selling direct. The ultimate goal, according to the company, is to make 100 percent of the company's overall revenue come via the channel. The channel represents more than 50 percent of its revenue, while the company expects that number to rise to over 80 percent within the next two years, according to Mark Harris, vice president of corporate marketing.

"It's a very serious commitment," said Harris, in an interview with CRN. "There's no desire to push direct. The direct guys are actually motivated and incented to work with channel partners."

"We're bringing in Todd because he knows what works on the street level," said Harris. "Todd gets the common sense of what channel partners want and how to light them up."

To drive channel sales, Pluribus has also hired Ron Falbo to head its North America channels East. Falbo was previously a channel account manager for SD-WAN specialist Talari Networks, and had executive channel experience at Unisys, Synnex Corp. and distributor Ingram Micro.

Pluribus provides data center solutions aimed at allowing businesses to run unconstrained with software-defined and fabric-based solutions. Dalton said the SDN market is not overly subscribed, which means prime real estate for solution providers.

"What we will do is help partners build a practice around monitoring, analytics and fabrics that's differentiated through the capabilities that it offers via the information it provides," said Dalton.

The startup has been making inroads through key strategic partnerships with the likes of Dell and Ericsson. Last year, Pluribus formed a partnership with Dell by which its Open Netvisor Linux solution runs on Dell's ONIE-compliant switches. The startup also formed an alliance with global telecom provider Ericsson, in which Netvisor powers Ericsson's optical switching backbone in its new HDS8000 cloud offering.