CRN Exclusive: Avi Networks Launches First Channel Program, Seeks Cloud-Focused Networking Partners

Aiming to become a 100 percent channel company, Avi Networks launched its first global channel partner program Tuesday, seeking cloud-focused networking solution providers wanting to accelerate sales around software-driven applications.

Founded by former top Cisco executives, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup unveiled its ScaleOut Channel Program Tuesday exclusively to CRN. The four-tiered program is focused on enabling and incenting channel partners to sell the applications and services required by today's enterprises as they switch to a software-driven data center, said Chandra Sekar, vice president of marketing for Avi, in an interview with CRN.

"Channel partners have to bring in a slew of new next-generation vendors or be left behind," said Sekar, whose company was named to CRN's 2016 25 Emerging Vendors You Need To Know About. "Customers are telling partners that it's important that the channel retool [itself] as enterprises are re-evaluating their entire stack for IT because of new technologies around hybrid cloud deployments."

[Related: Sports Stadium Market Becoming Prime Real Estate For Solution Providers]

Sponsored post

"From an incentive … perspective, not only are we able to expand [partners’] product offering, but ours is a subscription-based revenue model," said Sekar.

The ScaleOut program includes rebates, discounts, deal registration, market development funds and a partner portal.

ScaleOut is not a fulfillment program, and Avi is not looking to on-board a "massive number" of net new partners, Sekar said. However, Avi is seeking partners dedicated to helping customers solve complex challenges around next-generation data center architectures.

"We complement and plug into many of these next-generation ecosystems that these channel organizations are beginning to work with, whether it’s microservices or container environments," Rob Duncan, Avi's vice president of sales in the Americas, told CRN. "We're looking to ensure that channel partners are enabled in much the same way as at least our core sales team is."

Avi launched out of stealth mode in late 2014 by raising $33 million from venture capitalists, touting itself as the "next-generation" application delivery controller company.

Avi’s software services approach bodes well for emerging cloud-native and microservices application architectures, according to research firm Gartner, as the software is delivered at a very cost-effective price point, typically less than half the cost of hardware-based ADC solutions. The vendor embeds visibility and analytics capabilities into its core ADC software product, which simplifies application troubleshooting.

Built on software-defined principles, Avi's Vantage Platform delivers automated application services including load balancing, application analytics, predictive auto-scaling and security for on-premise or public cloud applications.

Avi also formed a technology partnership with Cisco Systems this year, combining Cisco's Cloud Services Platform 2100 with the Vantage Platform, aiming to provide a turnkey solution for rapid deployment of application services such as load balancing on an elastic network functions virtualization platform.

Avi’s customer roster includes enterprise technology companies, large banks and cable providers in the U.S., and several Fortune 500 companies, according to the company.

"We're getting a good amount of traction with these larger enterprises that are looking at hybrid cloud," said Sekar. "We reshaped the thinking about what [Layer] 4 to [Layer] 7 services mean with the type of visibility and analytics we're providing that tends to be a huge attraction for these enterprises."

Sekar said enterprises are struggling with how they deal with appliance-based solutions and scaling effectively across the different environments in order to get a "public cloud-like flexibility in-house."

Avi's executive leadership team, including CEO Amit Pandey, has signed off on the goal to become a 100 percent channel company, Duncan said. The vendor does more than 50 percent of its business through the channel today, having signed up around 20 solution providers in the U.S. as well as 20 partners in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The former top Cisco executives who founded the company include Umesh Mahajan, previously vice president and general manager of Cisco's Data Center Switching business; Ranga Rajagopalan, former senior director of engineering at Cisco; and Murali Basavaiah, former vice president of software engineering for the Data Center Group. Pandey became CEO in September after serving in various executive positions at NetApp.