CRN Exclusive: 'Disruptive' SD-WAN Vendor CloudGenix Launches Partner Program, Recruits Cisco Partners

With the software-defined WAN market set to explode, SD-WAN provider CloudGenix is launching its first-ever global partner program seeking a variety of solution providers wanting to catch the growing SD-WAN wave.

CloudGenix, founded by former Cisco networking executives, unveiled its CloudGenix Partner Program Monday and has already attracted dozens of Cisco channel partners, master agents and cloud application-focused solution providers through its unique approach to providing proof of concept systems (POCs), online tools and solutions.

’Other SD-WAN solutions in the marketplace are inferior and more complex to configure,’ said Rich Falcone, vice president of sales at Computer Design and Integration (CDI), a Teterboro, N.J.-based solution provider ranked No. 83 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500 list. ’Their channel program is new, but they’re pulling in people like [CDI] because they're driving demand in the marketplace and they’re actually helping us create POCs for customers, which is refreshing.’

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Channel partners who join the program are given a CloudGenix assessment service tool to create POCs where customers receive a detailed report on their network environment that calls out what benefits an SD-WAN solution could provide specific to their applications and by transitioning to the cloud.

’The partner uses our tool to understand the customer's network and in the back end are data analytics engines that gives the partner back a report that shows them a very detailed network assessment for the customer,’ said Kumar Ramachandran, CEO and co-founder of CloudGenix, in an interview with CRN. ’So it shows you the problems and how to solve those problems before the partner offers to sell you anything.’

Another unique feature to the program is called the IWANT CloudGenix Challenge. Using CloudGenix online tools, partners are able to set up a head-to-head SD-WAN comparison for customers between CloudGenix’s SD-WAN solution and competing systems, such as Cisco’s Intelligent WAN (IWAN), according to Ramachandran.

’It’s a consultative engagement partners can have with customers that can do a quick comparison for some of the key use-cases,’ said Ramachandran.

Ramachandran said the program has attracted Cisco partners because CloudGenix is enabling solution providers to engage their customers without having to wait for a hardware refresh.

’It’s no longer just a plumbing conversation at the point of hardware refresh, it’s a much more business-savvy conversation,’ said Ramachandran. ’They can engage for an application or cloud project and offer customer subscription models that align well, so the customer is not bearing CapEx costs.’

Channel partners in the program are also granted immediate access to CloudGenix's inside sales teams and resources including sales leads. The program consists of rebates, incentives, deal registration, discounts and a partner portal that contains Webinars and a demo lab.

Overall, the program consists of only two tiers based on the amount of training, certifications and engagement partners invest in CloudGenix.

The San Jose, Calif.-based SD-WAN startup is currently seeking to onboard traditional networking partners, telecommunications master agents and cloud application-focused solution providers, according to Ramachandran.

’Our product is so easy to consume and deploy that you do not need a deep expertise in networking,’ said Ramachandran. ’It’s a new opportunity where partners can go right now and sell much higher in the stack, rather than waiting for the five-year refresh cycle.’

CDI’s Falcone said his company already has ’a couple of deals under our belt’ and expects CloudGenix sales to increase for the foreseeable future due to its ’disruptive’ portfolio.

Its flagship CloudGenix Instant-On Networks (ION) product family delivers an application-defined fabric that eliminates the need for hardware routers. In contrast to traditional hybrid-WAN alternatives, ION delivers the cloud without compromise to the remote office or need to rip and replace infrastructure. Ramachandran said CloudGenix is the only SD-WAN system that can run on an x86-based platform in the cloud or on premise.

The SD-WAN market is surging, growing at a more than 90 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), according to research firm IDC. The market is expected to grow from a mere $225 million in 2015 to $6 billion by 2020.

Gartner said that by the end of 2019, 30 percent of enterprises will have deployed SD-WAN technology in their branch operations, up from less than 1 percent in 2015. Analysts said traditional WANs are having difficulty keeping up with increased network traffic, forcing service providers and enterprises to seek SD-WAN solutions.

’[CloudGenix] is doing all the right things and their technology is definitely a value-add,’ said CDI’s Falcone. ’They’ve also recruited some industry veterans who have deep software-defined network background to bridge any gaps.’

CloudGenix was founded by former Cisco executives in 2013, including Ramachandran who held leadership roles in product management and marketing for Cisco’s multi-billion dollar branch routing and WAN optimization business.

Venkataraman Anand, vice president of engineering for CloudGenix, was previously Director of Engineering at Cisco -- leading teams for wireless, WAN optimization and optical products. Vijay Sagar, CloudGenix’s vice president of product management, was Director of Product Management for Cisco’s Enterprise Routing group responsible for WAN optimization, application visibility and virtual private networking technologies.

Ramachandran said his company is bringing the channel expertise learned at Cisco into the CloudGenix business.

’I was very well engaged with a lot of channel partners at Cisco – both at the strategic level … and I also used to make sure I was in some of the trenches with some of the channel partners,’ said Ramachandran. ’We integrate with the existing Cisco network very, very well.’

Nearly 100 percent of CloudGenix revenues go through the channel, according to Ramachandran.

’We’re very excited to be launching our first channel program and have great growth hopes for the future with our current and future channel partners,’ said Ramachandran.