**Editor’s Note: “7 Minutes” is a feature where we ask channel executives from startups – or companies that may be new to the Channel Partners audience – a series of quick questions about their businesses and channel programs.**
In our latest home page flash poll, we asked readers, “What’s the next big “software-defined” sales opportunity after SD-WAN?” Array Networks will be pleased to hear that “NFV to replace hardware firewalls, load balancers and edge devices with virtual services” beat out both software-defined networks and storage by a healthy margin. Array bills itself as “the network functions platform company” based on its main offering, a line of appliances for hosting virtual networking and security functions from a variety of suppliers. It’s aim is to help partners get the business benefits of network functions virtualization – namely, the ability to deliver high-margin services – quickly and to far-flung customers.
In October, Array named Paul Andersen vice president of sales for North America; previously, Anderson was senior director of marketing, so he has insights into the company’s sales and partner marketing, training, enablement and management. Previously, he served in various marketing roles at Cisco, Tasman Networks and Sun Microsystems.
Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about your product or service. What’s the secret selling sauce?
Paul Andersen: We describe our product as “virtualization that’s purpose-built for network functions and networking professionals.” Here’s what we mean by that: Most off-the-shelf servers and virtualization technologies are designed to support application workloads; also, these technologies are managed by server and virtualization teams — not the networking group.
As a result, partners are finding that their networking buyers – who want to become more agile through the use of virtual appliances (VAs) – are running into challenges in terms of performance and deployment complexity. In contrast to off-the-shelf servers, Array’s Network Functions Platform product is purpose-built for running networking, security and application delivery virtual appliances. This is what customers and partners love about our product.
When virtual appliances are deployed on the Array platform, resources (such as CPU, memory, SSL and interfaces) are assigned and reserved in such a way as to provide the hardware-like horsepower that network functions need in order to run in their power band. Performance is also guaranteed; SLAs are maintained for each virtual appliance, regardless of the type or quantity of additional functions on the platform.
For the networking professional, the Array product speaks their language and bridges the gap to newer cloud and virtualization technologies. Complex server and hypervisor-related configurations tasks, such as CPU-pinning, NUMA boundary settings, SR-IOV, physical and virtual port mapping, are automated by the Array platform. Networking teams just select an appropriately sized platform instance, load the …