Solo, which makes a service mesh and API management platform named Gloo, is relatively new to the channel, but it brought in more than half their revenues last quarter, and they have announced their first partner program to build on that.
Cambridge MA-based Solo.io makes a cloud-native service mesh and API management platform, Gloo, which lets companies secure, scale, simplify, and save costs on modern application networking across any cloud infrastructure. Gloo combines gateway [which was Solo’s original focus], service mesh, security, and cloud-native networking into a single platform. It lets customers deploy and use open source community projects like Istio, which Solo was one of the key drivers behind, Envoy, and Cilium.
“Our customers are mainly enterprise and cloud-native customers,” said Kristian Gyorkos, VP of Global Alliances and Channels at Solo. “We uniquely solve problems that those building Kubernetes clusters have, and our value proposition is good. We have been in this market from the start, and solved problems already. Customers like American Express already have cutting edge digital experience. We can increase their ability to manage that, and observe what’s going on. We cover all connectivity, edge, egress and service mesh.”
While Solo was founded in 2017, their Go-to-Market strategy was essentially direct until April 2023, with AWS being by far their most significant partner. Now they are launching their first channel program, the Gloo Partner Network, which encompasses technology partners, cloud providers, resellers and integrators.
“The partner organization started in April this year, which is when I joined the company,” Gyorkos said. “Even before that though, we began talking with AWS, and they were our first partnership. That took us 18 months, and it was a case of the right timing. When we spoke with their Kubernetes team, they were looking for someone like us. We started working with that container team, and we have more than 50 opportunities just from there.”
While AWS was the primary component of the partner ecosystem, the decision was made earlier this year to create the Gloo Partner Network to support a broader partner network.
“We had worked with other partners before, but it was all on an ad hoc basis,” Gyorkos stated. “We had to build a whole program, including building a portal.”
The plan is to develop close relations with a fairly limited array of quality partners.
“In Canada, we work with Arctiq Canada, who help very large customers on their digital journey,” Gyorkos said. “There are a fair number of partners like that, but we focus on around a dozen in North America, about another dozen in EMEA and select partners in some Asian markets like New Zealand and Australia.”
Out of the gate, the Gloo program begins with one track but with a couple of different specializations,” he indicated. “Originally we did gateways, because the market for mesh wasn’t there yet, so some of our partners are focused there. Service mesh became a later focus, and they are now converging, although we have both gateway and mesh specializations. In 2024, we will be launching formal partner certifications through Solo Academy, which exists today. Right now we offer just general knowledge certification.”
Services partners obtain an additional perk through the program.
“We give them the opportunity to shadow our engagements,” Gyorkos noted.
Likely the biggest news for most partners is a newer channel-only product, the identity of which Gyorkos would not divulge, although he did say that it is planned to be available later this year.
“We will be announcing a new product for a higher volume channel later this year, and are working with pilot customers already,” he said.
Gyorkos expects that the channel can be very successful with Solo as part of a strong hybrid Go-to-Market strategy.
“Our hardened way of deploying service mesh feels like a security product, which tend to be highly channel, and we will soon have product that is built for the channel. In addition, all of our direct salespeople work with partners when they are in their territories.”
Solo will be conducting a webinar on October 10, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. PDT to provide additional information about the Gloo Partner Network. Those interested can register at pages.solo.io/Annoucing-Gloo-Partner-Network.html.