SonicWall CEO: Dell buyout will extend channel reach

SonicWall CEO Matt Medeiros

SonicWall CEO Matt Medeiros

Dell’s purchase of SonicWall will give the UTM vendor extended reach in the channel and internationally, company executives say.

The deal for privately-held SonicWall was announced Tuesday morning, and will result in SonicWall being exposed to a much larger group of channel partners, said SonicWall CEO Matt Medeiros on a conference call discussing the deal. The math is simple: SonicWall, he said, currently has about 15,000 resellers worldwide. Dell has somewhere a little north of 100,000 partners.

“We look forward to extending our reach,” Medeiros said.

New Dell Software Group president John Swainson added that by joining Dell, SonicWall will be able to expand its geographic reach. While SonicWall has traditionally focused on the North American market, Dell “has a very broad footprint overseas,” Swainson said.

“This combination, and Dell’s reach into those markets, will give us another vector for growth,” he said.

Dave Johnson, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Dell, said that cross-pollination of the companies’ channel partner programs was key. He expects to see SonicWall’s partners get the opportunity to take on the broader Dell porftolio, and for the larger group of Dell partners to get increased access to SonicWall products. “There are lots of opportunities for expansion,” he said.

Medeiros, for his part, said Dell has “a good track record” of integrating partner groups into its channel program. In fact, the acquisition of channel-centric niche players like storage vendor EqualLogic figured heavily in the original crafting of the PartnerDirect program.

The two companies are already well acquainted. In fact, Dell has been one of those 15,000 SonicWall partners, acint as a reseller for the company for the last decade, Medeiros added.

A partner FAQ on the deal posted on SonicWall’s site praised the “significant contributions” channel partners have made to SonicWall’s growth, and said that the company expects to accelerate that growth once under the Dell umbrella.

We believe that with the additional resources Dell can provide, we will accelerate our growth and expand our network security and data protection solutions. Dell has demonstrated a strong understanding of the extremely complex and rapidly changing security landscape. The acquisition of SonicWALL is the next step in Dell’s strategy to expand its security solutions capabilities for customers and simplify management of their IT infrastructure.

The briefing goes on to suggest that SonicWall partners will be offered the opportunity to join the PartnerDirect program in a way that “should enable you to preserve the investments you made with SonicWall,” and that the company’s integration strategy involves taking “the very best of the SonicWall channel programs and model and [combining] it with PartnerDirect to bring the best to channel members.”

In an interview with CRN discussing the deal, Dell worldwide channel chief Greg Davis echoed those comments, and said solution providers regularly ask the vendor for these kinds of portfolio enhancements.

“Channel partners continue to ask us to bring us new opportunities to grow and make money. We see this as a great opportunity to do that.”

Under the deal, SonicWall joins a number of security-centric acquisitions made by Dell in recent years. The portfolio now includes AppAssure, KACE, Dell Data Protect, and even the company’s own managed security services provider business, SecureWorks. Swainson said the addition of SonicWall to that family helps the company provide customers with “simplicity in what can be a very complex and very disjointed issue” and helps customers adhere to tightening regulatory requirements.

The UTM market continues to be full of growth opportunities, as emerging markets look to buy in for the first time, while developed markets look to (or are required to) upgrade to the latest capabilities, Swainson suggested.

Pending regulatory approval, the companies expect the deal to close during Dell’s second fiscal quarter, which ends in early August.

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