Dell Unleashes Major SonicWall Firewall Release

Dell Tuesday released the first major upgrade to its SonicWALL TZ series firewall in nearly six years.

The new product, which is four times faster than the last generation TZ series, is being backed up with a slew of incentives aimed at upgrading an installed base of more than 1 million firewalls.

Dell is providing upgrade discounts for existing customers with additional margin incentives for partners on those deals. For example, Dell security solution providers will receive an additional 10 points of margin when they register SonicWALL TZ sales.

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What's more, partners who sell the TZ to new customers will receive an additional five percent margin.

Marvin Blough, Dell Software's executive director of worldwide channels and alliances, said the new firewall represents a significant opportunity to not only upgrade current customers but to grab business away from key competitors like Cisco, Check Point, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. "We think the capability of the products are so great that we are an alternative if you are a user of competitor," he said.

Michael Crean, president of Dell partner Solutions Granted, a one-time SonicWall Most Valuable Partner of the Year headquartered in Virginia, said he sees "huge" potential for the new TZ Series in the small and medium business market. "They need protection just like a Sony or a GM, but they don't have the budget of a large organization," he said.

Crean said Dell has made significant gains in partnering in the security market in the last 18 months. For example, he said, a Dell direct account rep recently passed over an opportunity on what was at one time a Dell only direct account.

The Dell direct rep opened the door for Solutions Granted to "run with the deal completely," Crean said. "For me, these are great times because my whole business is around SonicWALL. Now, Dell is willing to facilitate."
SonicWALL, which was acquired by Dell in 2012, has sold about 1.7 million TZ series appliances. It estimates nearly 1 million of them are still in use, and a majority of those are good candidates for upgrade to the new generation.

The last major version of the SonicWALL TZ series was released in 2009 with a minor upgrade in 2012. Dell claims it has about a 30 percent share of the SMB firewall market.

Blough called on Dell security partners to step up and provide a wider range of security services for customers. "The days of being just a plain IT reseller are over," he said.

Dell is investing heavily in providing additional training for Dell SonicWALL partners, said Blough. "If you're going to be a security IT provider, we have an obligation to make sure we're training you and equipping you to go out and service customers," Blough said.

Security solution providers are becoming more critical to preventing breaches at SMB customers especially with the increase in encrypted network traffic, said Patrick Sweeney, executive director of product management at Dell Security. He said more than 55 percent of all network connections are encrypted, and the computational requirements for inspecting all that encrypted traffic are huge and sophisticated.

That makes it more critical than ever that Dell build up the technical muscle of its security solution providers. "We have to embrace our VARs more," he said. "We have to train them, have a close relationship with them, and I think we've done that well."