Master Agent Avant Expands SD-WAN Portfolio For Solution Provider Partners

Master agent Avant Communications is doubling down on sought-after SD-WAN solutions by introducing an assortment of new providers for solution provider partners to choose from and begin selling as a new recurring revenue stream.

Avant, in partnership with its new providers, is working to shape SD-WAN into a subscription-based opportunity for the channel and for business customers, in particular for partners that aren't used to recurring revenue, said Drew Lydecker, president and co-founder of Chicago-based Avant.

At the same time, the new partnerships will help SD-WAN providers reach more telecom agent partners who are taking on the role of "trusted technology advisor" with their customers.

"We are providing the platform to help [providers] swivel into that recurring revenue model for their SD-WAN offerings while educating emerging SD-WAN providers on the channel – both large VARs and trusted advisor partners," Lydecker said.

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[Related: Avant Launches Sales Enablement Platform Aimed At Helping Partners Sell More Connectivity, Cloud Solutions]

SD-WAN allows businesses to use a combination of private internet connections, such as MPLS, as well as public internet connections to route data between data centers or branch office locations. SD-WAN is a rapidly growing market that will represent a massive "land grab" opportunity for channel partners, Lydecker said.

"SD-WAN is growing faster than any of our other 'swim lanes' right now," he added.

As of Tuesday, Avant's SD-WAN portfolio will include: Aryaka, CenturyLink with Versa Networks; CIS with managed Talari and VeloCloud; EarthLink with VeloCloud; Windstream with VeloCloud; CloudGenix; Expereo with managed Cisco IWAN, Citrix and Viptela; Masergy with Silver Peak; Netwolves with Cisco IWAN and Cisco Meraki; Talari; Verizon with Viptela, Cisco IWAN and Versa Networks.

Partners can use Avant's BattleApp platform to learn more about each provider to determine the best fit for their end customers, Lydecker said.

CloudGenix is a San Jose, Calif.-based SD-WAN startup that offers carrier-neutral, cloud-based SD-WAN services and sells exclusively through the channel. The partnership with Avant will help the startup reach more telecom agent partners, according to Kumar Ramachandran, CloudGenix's founder and CEO.

"Right now, telecom [agent partners] are trying to enhance trusted advisor nature, especially as customers start to consider whether they can move from MPLS to broadband and even LTE, and make migrations to cloud-based services. These partners are really important to us," Ramachandran said.

In addition to relationships with master agents, like Avant, and telecom agent partners, CloudGenix also partners with traditional VARs, hardware resellers, and systems integrators who are also trying to get into more services-based offerings to meet their customers' needs, he said.

SD-WAN provider Talari Networks also plans on reaching more agent partners through Avant, its first relationship with a master agent, in addition to its partner base of VARs, said George Just, vice president of sales, West region for Talari. Avant can translate technical topics – such as SD-WAN – into digestible bites for channel sales teams, Just said.

"Avant is great at arming their partners with enough data to maintain their trusted advisor relationships with their customers and then make good recommendations on what vendors to work it," he said.

Talari's SD-WAN offerings can be delivered both via the cloud or as an appliance-based offering on a subscription-based pricing model. Avant's channel partners will be able to earn recurring revenue on Talari services.

"We needed a sales arm that is used to the monthly recurring environment, and that's where Avant comes in and leads us to hundreds of agent partners, a channel we weren't really present in until now," Just said. "We want to dramatically grow our channel business through our agent partner base."

Avant will be offering an upcoming "special forces" training on SD-WAN for partners this week, and is planning more training and educational sessions for partners down the road, Avant's Lydecker said.

Research firm IDC estimates that worldwide SD-WAN revenues will exceed $6 billion in 2020.