Disruptor: Silver Peak Seeing Channel Surge With SD-WAN Partner Program

The massive 90 percent compound annual growth rate in the emerging software-defined WAN market is making channel partners rethink their networking go-to-market strategies and who they should partner with.

On the front end of this software defined-WAN shift toward lower MPLS costs and simplified virtual networks is Santa Clara, Calif.-based Silver Peak, which is reaping the benefits of a SD-WAN channel partner program it launched a year ago.

’We are attracting new channel partners as well as competitors’ partners,’ said Bob Bruce, senior vice president of worldwide channel sales at Silver Peak, in an interview with CRN. ’Partners are seeing double-digit margins associated with our [SD-WAN] solution coupled with annual recurring revenue … Partners are saying, ’It’s not a matter of if enterprises are going to adopt SD-WAN, it’s only a matter of when.’’

The company’s EdgeConnect SD-WAN business has doubled revenues quarter over quarter for the past four quarters, with 50 percent of net-new SD-WAN opportunities now partner initiated.

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Silver Peak has trained and certified more than 400 partners through its SD-WAN Engineering Program, helping increase its roster of channel partners by ’double digits’ over the past year, according to Bruce.

John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Integrated Archive Systems, a Silver Peak partner that's ranked No. 153 on the CRN's Solution Provider 500, said his Silver Peak revenue has also increased by double digits year over year because of the vendor’s differentiating technology and ease of doing business with.

’Because they’re so easy to work with, salespeople want to lead in with that product in those network discussions,’ said Woodall. ’They’ve brought the best of their technology both from an SD-WAN as well as their traditional WAN optimization offering and giving customers the ability to get the [best of] both worlds in an SD-WAN conversation and that’s unique to their offerings and serves well for [channel partners] … It’s one of the simplest network products to deploy.’

The SD-WAN market is expected to grow at a combined annual rate of 90 percent over the next four years, soaring from $225 million in 2015 to a whopping $6 billion by 2020, according to research firm IDC. By 2018, 10 percent of enterprises will have replaced their WAN routing with SD-WAN, up from less than 1 percent in 2015, according to research firm Gartner.

Over the past 18 months, vendors like Cisco, Riverbed and Citrix have thrown their hats into the market, while companies such as Viptela, CloudGenix, Nuage Networks, Glue Networks, Talari Networks and VeloCloud are all tussling to win market share.

Partners said Silver Peak’s SD-WAN technology differentiators include dynamic path control, zero-touch provisioning, cloud intelligence and path conditioning, which ensures private-line performance over the Internet.

’We have some really unique things around performance in the SD-WAN space that are unlike anyone else in the marketplace with our tunnel bonding, path conditioning, error correction, traffic shaping -- which means I’ll send your voice over one line, video over another line and I’ll let your email go over the Internet at certain times during the day,’ said Bruce. ’And our heritage is WAN optimization.’

Marcus McEwen, executive vice president of Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based solution provider MNJ Technologies, said Silver Peak is enabling MNJ to integrate low-cost broadband connections with SLA-backed MPLS services, which allows customers to increase bandwidth without compromising application performance.

On the channel front, Silver Peak has over the past year invested in its mobile application, which allows partners to access information such as sales tools and pricing. It has also enhanced its partner portal and made all training free to solution providers.

Ultimately for the majority of deals, Silver Peak is striving to enable partners to become self-sufficient, said Bruce.

’Because of the enablement programs that we have rolled out – both technical and sales enablement – and the tools like quick start guides and deep dive guides … we’re beginning to enable them to the point that [partners] are becoming self-sufficient so they can take these opportunities from the cradle to grave,’ said Bruce.