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Application delivery networking firm F5 Networks has
launched new partner training and accreditation modules under its Unity partner
program.

The Web-based training modules and accreditation program
information is free to partners through the company’s F5 University. Training
accreditation launches this month and sales accreditation later in 2011.

“From a channel
perspective it’s a really great content place to be able to get better breadth
into this exploding market,” Dean Darwin, F5’s vice president of worldwide channels, told
Channel Insider. “It’s comprehensive across our entire product line… and it’s
modular so they can take whatever module is relevant to their business.”

The trainings are
designed to allow partners to better recognize sales opportunities, tailor F5
solutions to meet customer needs and help customers implement those solutions
in various environments. Sales trainings will help educate partners on product
features, deployment architectures and common use cases for different F5
products.

Eric Wolf, a senior
network engineer for Mount Laurel, N.J.-based solution provider Continental
Resources, reviewed some of the technical training modules for the F5 LTM
product and said they’re well laid out and technically concise.

“The technical
accreditation is a phenomenal first step to help the partners prove that we’re
proficient, and that’s an attractive go-to,” Wolf told Channel Insider. “Some
other manufacturers sometimes have trouble balancing the technical and the
marketing. This was very concise technically.”

He said F5’s sales
training and accreditation programs will also be helpful resources.

“People get used to
hearing one specific thing over and over, especially in sales. Any time we can
broaden their base and make us smarter, it’s a win-win,” Wolf said. “It helps
the sales people to also succeed. Engineers are great, but without the sales
people we’d get kind of bored. “

The sales training
program has 10 hours of online content. The technical training module has 12
hours of content. The program was designed using training materials different
F5 divisions around the world were already using and standardized. The online
training, Darwin said, allows partners to participate at their own pace and
when they have time rather than take technicians or sales personnel out of the
field for group sessions.

“We really put a
lot of thought into how do we do this in such a way that partners don’t feel it
like a burden,” Darwin said.  “This is a
really good first step investment to get them on that road map of learning, to
get that baseline they need to have.”

Partners who
receive accreditation in sales or technical areas will receive benefits when
the company moves to a tiered partner program later this year, Darwin said. “We
wanted to get the accreditation out first and give people enough time to
consume the training and work out the kinks and then come around with the tiering
and reward partners for the investment.”