Barracuda Hopes to Reengage Channel with New Firewall PlatformBy Ericka Chickowski | Print
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Called the Barracuda NG Firewall, the Barracuda offering stems from technology designed by Austria-based phion AG, a firm Barracuda acquired in September 2009 after hearing buzz over the company from its reseller contacts in Europe.
Barracuda Networks last week announced a newly designed firewall platform for distributed architectures that it says will help the channel re-open conversations with customers about their firewall protection and web filtering choices.
Called the Barracuda NG Firewall, the Barracuda offering stems from technology designed by Austria-based phion AG, a firm Barracuda acquired in September 2009 after hearing buzz over the company from its reseller contacts in Europe, who alerted Barracuda to phion's dominance in Europe despite its relative low-profile and lack of name recognition here in the United States.
"It's not a product familiar to the U.S. channel, but every day phion was going head-to-head and beating the likes of Check Point, Cisco and Juniper in their core markets of Germany, Austria and Switzerland," says Stephen Pao, vice president of product management for Barracuda. "So we think that we have a really unique offering for the channel here in the us in that they simply haven't seen something like this before. The real positioning of this firewall product as opposed to other enterprise firewall products is that it is really designed specifically for distributed environments."
The Barracuda NG Firewall is the latest release of phion's technology since Barracuda purchased the company. The product packages Web and e-mail filtering, intrusion prevention, Layer 7 application profiling and network access control into a platform that can be centrally managed across multiple enterprise network locations, anywhere from remote offices to regional headquarters and data centers.
In its largest install under the phion regime, the platform is installed at more than 650 locations within the infrastructure of one of Germany's largest banks. The firewalls at these locations are all centrally managed and offers administrators the ability to control application-level routing and prioritization of traffic across multiple links, tunnels and traffic conditions.
"(It's) a product with a very different design philosophy and built into the whole platform was really not only this intelligence across a number of locations, but also what's now kind of coined in the industry as next-generation firewall capabilities," Pao says. "From the channel perspective, I think what it really offers them is the capability to reopen the conversation with a lot of customers, for example, if you are working with an account that happens to be using a traditional firewall sold by somebody else, what you can really offer is a uniquely differentiated product offering."
He says that Barracuda is banking on the NG Firewall to also help change the perception of the channe towards the company.
"We recognize certainly that while Barracuda has been historically known for selling volume product licenses through volume channels, we believe this is a uniquely differentiated offering and from our perspective we're reopening conversations with the enterprise VAR channel," Pao says.
The new offering will pair well with other improvements Barracuda is making to channel program, which has come as a result of the company's other big acquisition of Purewire. Barracuda is tapping the dynamic, channel-seasoned former CEO of Purewire, Mike Van Bruinisse, to head up channel strategy at the company moving forward.
"We have, I think, a unique set of enhancements to our overall VAR program to improve deal protection for those channel partners who are looking to carry and promote and support these products and I think that we've also got a commensurate set of new employees and new people to work with them," Pao says.