Drawbacks and SupportBy Sharon Linsenbach | Posted 2008-06-10 Email Print
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SonicWall research finds VARs and end users are drawn by smaller players' flexibility, innovation and quick response to customer needs.
While SonicWall serves as an example of the positive impact an alternative technology can have in the channel, such alternatives are also subject to the same shortcomings that make VARs think twice about adding to their lineups. With SonicWall branching out from its UTM roots to compete with the likes of Cisco and Juniper, customers like Bahl fear the vendor's core competency could be diluted. Also, too much cutting-edge technology in an area such as security can be a bad thing, Bahl adds.
"[SonicWall's] wireless security solution is so secure it's often cumbersome—we have to often back off of their recommended best practices just to make sure that an end customer has constant connectivity," he says.
"IBM, the giant of them all, does more for me as far as sales and marketing than SonicWall, honestly," Bahl says. "I ask for help and [SonicWall] gives it, but I've never gotten leads, MDFs or assistance in generating new business."
But not all VARs agree that bigger is better when it comes to support. Mark Perez, co-founder and managing partner of TechMD, says when it comes to taking care of reseller partners, smaller vendors win, hands down. Perez's vendor of choice, MX Logic, is a small e-mail and network security provider that competes with Google/Postini.
Perez says while price is certainly an issue, it's not the deciding factor when choosing which vendor to work with. For example, MXLogic's security offerings compete with Google's cheaper Powered by Postini solutions, but Perez says working with MX Logic provides a host of other benefits.
"VARs themselves are small companies giving very high-touch, customized service to customers, and they can't do that unless they are working with vendors who do the same," Perez says.
For that high-touch, personalized service, Perez says the extra dollar or so he pays MX Logic per mailbox is worth it. "We end up making more money in the long run because our customers are happier with the services, and they stick with us," he says.