Gigabit Ethernet vendor launches VAR program

With a specialty in 10 Gigabit Ethernet data centre solutions, Solarflare Communications of Irvine, Calif. Is launching a formal channel program and is looking for VARs to help it expand its footprint in the Canadian market.

Mike Smith, general manager of host solutions with Solarflare, said the vendor is focused on high performance 10GbE networking. Its solutions have been developed based on its own internally-developed technology using its own silicon, and its own drivers and management software. The privately-held company was founded in 2001.

“We’ve evolved as a company fairly recently,” said Smith. “Up until a year ago we primarily sold components to major OEMs.”

In response to increasing customer awareness and demand for card-level products, Smith said Solarflare decided to manufacture its own network interface cards (NICs), develop a channel business, expand its sales force, get more involved in marketing and fulfill product directly to end-users thru the channel.

“We’ve been doing it for a year now and we’ve had a pretty high level of success,” said Smith.

Solarflare is currently finding traction in the high performance space and the low latency segment, standing out on product and availability, said Smith. He added high bandwidth with lower latency is important in verticals such as financial services with heavy real-time data flow, or with applications that require large scale computer farms to process large amounts of data in compute clusters, such as those used in oil and gas and pharmaceuticals.

To get broader reach in the market and expand its footprint, Solarflare recently launched a new VAR program.

“The intent is to target and attract VARs aligned with our business objectives. We want VARs with specialized capabilities in networking and building systems for their customers,” said Smith. “VARs willing and able to get trained on our products, that really understand their customer needs, and that will promote the value of our technology into their customer base.”

Solarflare’s VAR program offers partners a number of benefits, said Smith. They include training, early access to documentation and product for testing and evaluation with customers, joint marketing with VAR partner events, collateral, co-branded collateral, and a deal registration program.

The program has silver, gold and platinum tiers, with better discounts based on volume and more direct support from engineering and product specialists at the higher levels. Smith said they look at a number of factors to determine tier level including volume, success at meeting sales objectives, capability of the technical team, training participation, and alignment with Solarflare’s business strategy and target verticals.

Solarflare has a small direct sales force that it uses to maintain customer relationships explore leads and stay close to customer needs, but Smith said all fulfillment is through the channel. The company does business worldwide, primarily in large financial services centres, and also has a couple of trials underway with seismic exploration companies in Canada.

Right now, Solarflare is serving the Canadian market through U.S. partners, but it’s hoping to add Canadian partners and is currently in the application phase with one potential Canadian VAR, said Smith.Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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