‘Okay for Resale’ eval program for its hardened servers highlights Skyport partner program

Skyport, which came out of stealth in May, has announced a channel program designed to support partners who sell its unique infrastructure solution.

Phil Alexander Skyport 300

Phil Alexander, Channel Business Development Lead at Skyport Systems

Skyport Systems, which emerged from stealth with its hardened compute platform with integrated security capabilities in May, has announced its SkySecure Partner Program, to take it to market through a 100 per cent channel strategy. A highlight is a proactive evaluation program which lets partners place trial units with customers at no charge to them, which they can subsequently resell at full margin.

“We live where security and networking intersect,” said Phil Alexander, Channel Business Development Lead at Skyport Systems. “I believe the changes we are making, with our innovative hardened systems, will be integrated into enterprise best practices.”

Skyport’s SkySecure solution is a hyper converged compute platform with integrated security capabilities, using an SELinux [Security Enhanced Linux] distribution. The secure server detects and prevents malware and rootkits and wraps each application in a dedicated firewall. It also monitors the whole system, logging and recording every transaction.

“The solution is a turnkey system which includes the server itself, a trusted compute platform, the containerization of each virtual machine and the monitoring service across all layers of the stack,” Alexander said.

In a server market dominated by cheap commodity servers and even cheaper virtual ones, Alexander acknowledged that SkySecure is a niche product – but that it is a pretty large niche.

“There are specific attack surfaces within the enterprise – like DNS, and Active Directory servers – that pretty much give the intruder the keys to the kingdom once they are in,” he said. “We target those high value systems, which are the Achilles heel of the company. We are not saying ‘don’t buy twenty x86 servers,’ but buy 2 Skyport servers as well for these critical gateway applications like Active Directory and DNS. Similarly, we aren’t positioning this as a ‘rip and replace’ for existing server racks.”

The product, which is sold as a managed service on one or three year subscription models, will go to market through a 100 per cent channel strategy using what will initially be a select channel of VARs, SIs and managed security service providers.

“Our very first field trials were ‘friends and family’ and they were direct, but since we have had the ability to sign contracts, in April, we have been working exclusively with partners,” Alexander said. “I am less interested in exploding a broad recruitment effort, and more interested in attracting partners with an enthusiastic understanding around building out a security practice. We’d like a very small, dedicated group of partners in the first year. Later, as we ramp to volume, we will expand this, including two-tier distribution.”

Canada is on the target list, but they don’t have any partners there, yet.

“We are still in the collaborative understanding phase, but expanding into Canada is something we are actively pursuing,” he said.

Alexander said that in designing the program from scratch, they tried to come up with something distinct, befitting the new type of infrastructure category Skyport is selling.

“We are trying to make this program really easy, and not a cookie cutter program,” he said. “We are constantly refining our conception of customer need, and will be a program that is constantly refined and listening to our partners.”

Evaluation programs aren’t typically at the top of program features lists, but this one is.

“Skyport Flight Plan enables partners to place evaluation units at no cost to them, accelerating customer adoption and reducing partner time-to-revenue,” Alexander said. “Most tech vendors have a loan-to-own or a NFR program, but in a lot of cases they get hung up on ‘what should we charge off list.’ We decided to host a remotely managed demo environment for a customer at no cost, where we mount a test workload and run a 2-3 week Proof of Concept. We also ship a box to a registered partner for a 4-6 week Proof of Concept. We really make it light on the paperwork. We want our systems out at customers. For this reason, instead of a Not For Resale progam, this is an ‘Okay For Resale’ program. We are more than happy to let the reseller sell it at the regular deal margin.”

Another feature of interest is the full-margin recurring revenue model.

“If you register a deal as an authorized reseller, you will gain the full original margin benefit when you renew the deal,” Alexander said.

Skyport is also pledging that its training and educational materials will be easy to use and reduce time-to-revenue, and that it will offer ongoing in-market and outbound demand generation activities and execute dedicated, collaborative customer-facing events.