A10 Networks: New Partners Coming On Board As Cloud Push, Cisco Alliance And Security Focus Pay Off

With the channel accounting for nearly 100 percent of its revenue, application networking and security provider A10 Networks is making waves through its shift to a cloud-based approach and being flexible on pricing with its solution provider partners.

’A10 [is] bringing us into more opportunities than we [are] bringing them, which is unheard of in the channel," said Mark Miller, partner at M&S Technologies, a Dallas-based solution provider and A10 partner, No. 355 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500 list. "Our A10 sales this year have surpassed our F5 [Networks] sales. A lot of that is because A10 is not afraid to go into any account with us -- nothing is too small for them and they want to compete on a larger scale. When we're going in after large data centers, they're right there with us, hand in hand fighting the battle with us."

The San Jose, Calif.-based vendor reported that revenue in its first fiscal quarter, which ended March 31, increased 22 percent year over year, including a nearly 30 percent jump in enterprise sales to $32 million. Miller estimated that M&S Technologies’ annual A10's sales would increase upward of 50 percent this year.

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The application delivery controller specialist is winning over new solution providers, with its channel community increasing 25 percent over the past 24 months, according to Kirsten Young, A10's channel chief and vice president of global channels.

This is due to several A10 initiatives including investment around security solutions such as firewalls and DDoS protection, she said.

"We certainly have a big, big focus around security in terms of [channel program incentives]," said Young, named in CRN's Power 100: The Most Powerful Women Of The Channel 2016. "F5 [Networks] is one of our competitors and many new partners are coming to A10 that have been selling different offerings, so we're attracting a lot of new partners."

A10 last year also formed a strategic partnership with networking leader Cisco Systems, which has been fueling growth for A10 and its channel partners, she said.

A10 integrated its Thunder Application Delivery Controllers with Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure to enhance enterprises’ data center output by automatically provisioning application delivery and security services, which increases speed and business agility. A10 also integrated its Thunder SSL Encrypted Traffic visibility solution with Cisco's FirewPower security appliances.

"As soon as you need to scale up to a higher-performance network, that's when enterprises require more processing power and that's when they bring in A10," said Young. "Cisco has fueled a lot of pipeline opportunity and new business for A10 and our partners."

A10 for the past year and a half has been working on its transition to the cloud. The vendor in 2015 launched a cloud platform, ACOS (Advanced Core Operating System) Harmony, which includes hardware and software capabilities delivered through its Thunder series of appliances.

It also recently released version 4.0 of its ACOS software that includes full exposure of all platform features through APIs, making it more appealing to developer-centric organizations.

"A10 has done a nice job in basically bringing ADC into the cloud, some delivery capabilities into the cloud, and security is a big part of it," said M&S Technologies’ Miller. "A10 is doing a nice job of helping the customer move forward with a cloud strategy, but also [assuring] them that what they're doing is going be safe."

A10 also has been flexible with channel pricing when it comes to budget-restricted customers such as those in the education space, according to Miller.

"A10 is very good about being flexible, manipulating their price so it would fit a limited school budget to get things done. In the past, we’ve dealt with manufacturers who just said, 'The price is the price -- if they can't afford it, we need to move on from the deal' and we would lose it," said Miller.

A10 has approximately 700 channel partners worldwide, according to Young. The vendor only has a "small handful" of large service providers that buy direct, she added.