Synnex gets back in UTM game

Perhaps it really is true: When one door closes, another one opens. At least that’s the case with Synnex, after Fortinet dropped the distie (and several others) last fall to streamline its operations. Things are looking up with a new deal on the UTM front with Cyberoam, a company based out of Ahmedabad, India.

In July 2006 Synnex signed a distribution partnership agreement with unified threat management vendor Fortinet to expand its North American distribution network, allowing Synnex to distribute the vendor’s suite of integrated security appliances.

Synnex also wanted to expand beyond shipping boxes, so it started up a technology solutions division around enterprise and point-of-sale products. That division would also be responsible for security solutions, including Fortinet’s appliances.

Fast-forward to October 2007, and Fortinet decides to scrap Synnex, Westcon and several other distributors in favour of Ingram Micro and Tech Data. The reason? Fortinet said this was part of a strategy to attract “more and better” VARs to compete with well-established rivals Cisco, Check Point and SonicWall.

With Ingram Micro, Fortinet would gain access to VARs through VentureTech, and with Tech Data, it was looking to strike up relationships with its TechSelect partners. Fortinet also revamped its channel program to include mandatory sales commitments for top-class partners.

Now, that’s all well and good, but I’d consider that somewhat of a slap in the face to Synnex, Westcon and the other distributors – or, more precisely, their VARs. But Fortinet also recognized that it was being over-distributed, and it didn’t make sense to stretch itself out so thin.

For Synnex, however, it meant it now had a hole to fill with its UTM product offerings.

Enter India’s Cyberoam, a division of Elitecore Technologies, which develops identity-based UTM appliances that include everything from intrusion detection to content filtering to bandwidth management to multiple link load balancing on one platform.

Cyberoam has decided to move all of its North American VAR partners over to distribution (but not its managed services partners) – and that all of its UTM technology will be exclusively distributed through Synnex in the U.S. It also has VARs in Canada, and it’s currently working to extend that distribution deal here.

Cyberoam currently has about 60 VARs in the U.S. and only a handful in Canada; through this deal, it suddenly has access to a huge customer base (15,000 VARs in the U.S. alone). And perhaps another draw is that it won’t have to compete with Fortinet for those Synnex VARs.

Cyberoam says VARs will benefit from this distribution deal because they’ll get better financing options through Synnex, as well as better logistics options.

With Cyberoam, Synnex won’t have to compete with other distributors in North America, nor a direct salesforce. So while the Fortinet door has closed, it looks like Cyberoam just might be a better opportunity knocking on that door.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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