Astaro Churns Channel Success

security appliance vendor Astaro

Astaro, which sells its line of Linux-based security gateways solely through the channel, has been beating its sales forecasts by 100 percent over the past few months, added about 75 new partners since March and just launched a new Astaro Security Gateway 420, which became available July 1, said Arafeh.

An aggressive growth model and loads of attention given to its partners is generating Astaro's overall momentum, Arafeh explained.

"We are constantly modifying and improving our channel sales model, improving profit margins, and giving partners the opportunity to learn best practices," he said.

The vendor's Security Gateway 420 gives Astaro resellers a way to offer their customers security tools that protect against viruses, hackers, spam and other network threats, said Arafeh. Loaded with a new version 6 of Astaro's Security Linux operating system, the rackable, Intel-powered appliance can handle network payloads of as many as 1,000 employees for a base price of $8,995, according to Astaro.

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What's more, Astaro Security Linux 6 has been dispatched with tools to address protection for VoIP networks, said Arafeh.

The VoIP security features make a big difference when it comes to introducing the Astaro appliances to SMBs, said Harry Dykeman, vice president of sales at JDM Infrastructure, a Rosemont, Ill.-based VAR and Astaro partner that specializes in security.

Dykeman has noticed interest in VoIP pick up substantially in the 300- to 500-seat business sector, and being able to offer network security to these customers while at the same time starting them on a course that will protect future VoIP deployments makes for a persuasive sales pitch, he said.

"These smaller companies see their big brothers in the Fortune 500 space getting into VoIP, and so they too have begun asking questions about it," said Dykeman. "They have concerns, and they may not be ready to move to VoIP immediately, but we don't want to do anything that locks them out or slows the move to VoIP later."

JDM moves a lot of hardware, and only 20 percent of its total revenue is derived from services, said Dykeman. So simplified appliances like those from Astaro work well, he said. "Typically, our security customers go the appliance route first, and with Astaro we can create a baseline, then as time goes by we can start adding on to that baseline," said Dykeman.

Astaro is still recruiting partners, which can join the vendor's ranks with a $1,500 certification that can be waived based on a reseller's particular sales volume commitment, said Arafeh. Volume dealers are particularly welcome, he said, adding the current "lion's share of our business in the partner community comes from a select few partners.

"We haven't reached partner capacity yet, and as we grow we want to continue to be an intimate partner to do business with," he said.