… VA of their choice and they are up and running.
One of the best things for customers and partners is that our Network Functions Platform is vendor-neutral, meaning that virtual appliances from any networking, security or application delivery provider can benefit from the advantages described above. Customers can stick with the best-of-breed vendors they trust, and partners can build solutions around the vendors already on their line cards.
CP: Describe your channel program — metal levels, heavy on certifications, open or selective, unique features?
PA: We are trying not to over complicate or overthink things. The vast majority of our partners are “Premier Partners,” and it is a solid, straight-forward program that hits on what is most important to value-added resellers. The program is heavy on pre-qualification — quality and fit are more important than quantity. The margins are strong, with strong incentives for deal registration in order to provide protections for partner-led opportunities.
Sales and technical training – via live, remote and self-paced options – as well as tiered certifications are emphasized, and our partner portal provides a wealth of sales-enablement resources. Marketing, awareness and lead generation are built into every Premium Partner agreement, with additional MDF funds available on a tiered basis. Margins satisfy the partner business, and tiered SPIFFs incentivize individual sales reps.
Last but not least, I think what really sets our program apart is the ability for partners to bring something new to customers that bridges the gap to the future for both the buyer and seller.
CP: Quick-hit answers: Percentage of sales through the channel, number of partners, average margin. Go.
PA: Eighty percent or more goes through the channel, more than 100 partners, margins up to 40 percent with deal registration.
CP: Who are your main competitors, and what makes your offering better?
PA: Historically, Array’s competitors have been the likes of F5 and Citrix. Array has a long history in the application-delivery space and pioneered the evolution from simple load balancers to integrated traffic management (now referred to as an ADC). From a purely app-delivery perspective, Array solutions have always been equally scalable and feature-rich as compared to the competition; however, we differentiated ourselves on being far easier to deploy and manage and also far superior in terms of price-performance.
It is probably no surprise that virtual appliances such as Array’s virtual ADC, virtual SSL VPN and virtual WAN optimization all run on our Network Functions Platform, in addition to support for third-party virtual appliances as mentioned earlier.
With respect to competition for the Network Functions Platform itself, we are now seeing Cisco come into the market with its Enterprise NFV solutions. As with anything Cisco, they are going to want you to do it the Cisco way, as compared to the vendor-neutral approach we have taken. In addition, the benefits of guaranteed performance and abstracting complexity from NFV are uniquely Array.
CP: How do you think your technology portfolio will change in the next three years?
PA: While we have started in the data center, efforts are already underway for platforms designed for …