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Channel partners must evolve their sales strategies if they want to take full advantage of a new generation of virtualized services.
Three panelists will discuss the sales methodology behind software-defined networking (SDN) and virtual network functions (VNF) at Channel Partners Evolution in Austin, Texas, Sept. 27.
The concurrent education panel, “SDN & NFV: Making the Service Sale,” will feature Drew Lydecker, president of Avant; Bill Prange, who leads global alliances and partnerships for Verizon Enterprise Solutions; and Paul Cronin, “facilitator of excellence” for Cronin Corp.
The three speakers shared a preview of their talk with Channel Partners. The transcript has been edited for clarity.
Channel Partners: What is a main benefit of virtualized network services?
Drew Lydecker: Arguably, the biggest benefit is simplification. This is especially true at the branch level. Customers and providers are increasingly moving toward VNFs and white-box/uCPE solutions where a single appliance is capable of delivering all necessary branch functionality: router, firewall, SD-WAN, WAN optimization, etc. For those who don’t have an IT staff onsite at every location, this is invaluable — especially in retail, where there can be hundreds of sites to manage.
Aside from the white-box/uCPE model, network providers now have the ability to deliver these services centrally from the cloud, shifting the burden away from the customer. Not only is the cost of hardware investment greatly diminished, but management and patching are left to the provider, [which] is able to push out updates from a centralized platform.
VNFs allow customers to adapt more quickly. Solutions can be added, updated or removed by way of a simple download. This simplicity makes it possible to replace elements that don’t end up working without major sunk costs.
Paul Cronin: Server virtualization has made a lot of great things possible. In a big step forward, applications are no longer tied to a single physical server in a single location. You can now replicate apps to a remote data center for disaster recovery, move them from one corporate data center to another, or slide them into a hybrid cloud environment. Virtualization greatly reduces the complexity and amount of time it takes to respond to requests for IT resources and improves the ongoing management and security of the provisioned services and applications, while reducing errors throughout the process.
CP: What is one way in which the sales strategy must change for SDN/NFV?
DL: Over time, customers have been conditioned to think that they need …