A10 Networks is looking to recruit partners of rival application delivery networking (ADN) player F5 as it strengthens its UK presence and pushes its native cloud offering, according to vice president of cloud Kamal Anand.
Anand told CRN that A10 is the only vendor in the space to offer a cloud-native solution and as such is not looking to steal business from F5, but wishes to complement the traditional solutions that F5 already sells to customers with its own cloud-native offering, through F5 partners.
A10 provides ADN solutions that sit between client applications - such as laptops and phones - and back-end servers to make applications more available, better performing and more secure.
"Companies such as F5 Networks have more market share in the traditional enterprise, but this transformation is the opportunity for a challenger like us to come in because enterprise is looking for new solutions and F5 does not have a cloud-native solution in our particular technology area," he said.
"Obviously, large companies can do large architecture and say 'we're cloud ready' but there is not a product today that is cloud native so we are very comfortable that from a technology and solution perspective we have quite a lead over companies such as F5.
"We see this as a great opportunity for A10 to gain share in that enterprise market space."
Anand explained that A10's partner recruitment could see it join with traditional F5 resellers who are looking to broaden their offering with a cloud solution, which could allow it to tap into the customer base of these partners.
"We are working with some global partners that are very strong F5 traditional infrastructure partners, but when they see our offering they're not trying to displace what F5 does, it is just where the customer is going and it's complementary and adjacent to F5," he said.
"They're willing to take us on as a lead in that cloud-native world, while they're still maintaining their relationship [with F5] and serve the traditional world with F5.
"It allows us to enter that market from a different angle and provide value. We're not trying to take on F5 directly with channel partners because if you have a good business why would you substitute? It's really about where customers are going and where they can position us."
The cloud offering is allowing A10 to scale its product down, having traditionally focused on high-end enterprise, to make it more accessible to SMBs, Anand explained.
He said that the UK channel can expect A10 to be more vocal this year, having traditionally focused more on technology than marketing.
"A10 historically has been leading edge from a technology perspective and the brand presence has been somewhat weaker," he said. "Now we are trying to change that game and make sure that the market understands that we are servicing some of the largest networks [in the world]."
David Silsby, sales and marketing director at A10 partner Network Utilities, said that the vendor sought to increase its marketing power and presence in the channel over the last year, which has benefited its UK partner base.
A10 currently has six core partners in the UK and is looking to increase that number to around 10 this year.
"In the last year we have seen a real commitment in their investment in people from a channel perspective and a marketing perspective," he said. "The message has started to get out there and we've seen quite an improvement in their presence.
"One of the key things is that the whole UK economy has struggled in the last 12 months and people are looking for ways to rationalise and cut down spend, and one of the great things about the A10 solution is the all-you-can-eat licensing. You buy the platform and you have all the functionality - you're not having to add extra bits to it."
While Anand was keen to hype up A10's cloud offering, Silsby said that Network Utilities is seeing noticeable growth in A10's traditional offering.
"That's part of the acquisition they made about a year ago and I can see how it fits in with their strategy," he said.
"I think the UK was a little bit slow to adopt the as-a-service type offering and I think now the idea of buying IT as a utility that you can switch on or off, or scale up or down as you like, [is becoming more mainstream].
"I'm seeing a surge in demand for that so it's maybe something that we dive into as we see requirement, but I'm seeing interest in other things that we're doing in that area [at the moment]."
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