F5 Networks targets expected network traffic demand

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US software vendor F5 Networks aims to double its reseller base in Australia via distributor TechPac for its application traffic packages by the end of June.

Les Howarth, MD of F5 Australia and New Zealand, said the company wanted to increase its six regular product buyers in Australia's reseller community to 12, and its 36 occasional buyers to 72 by mid-year.

F5 - which has been operating in Australia since 1997 -- drove all its business via indirect channels, and in Australia that meant its long-standing relationship with Tech Pacific, which had 250 resellers on its books, he said.

“We've probably used them as fulfilment fairly effectively but now we want to get added value out of them,” Howarth said.

Originally, F5 had targeted ISPs with its LAN and WAN application management software portfolio but demand had spread to enterprise customers with hundreds of servers, and was working its way into smaller companies, he said.

“It's working its way down. It started at the top 50 [largest Australian companies] and then to the top 100 and in a year's time it might be more like the top 5,000,” Howarth said.

He dodged questions on how much revenue the company wanted to earn via its Australian channel, saying his bosses wouldn't allow him to give out “competitive” figures. “But in the US, it's millions of US dollars this year, so it could be a big number,” he said.

Howarth said TechPac sales director John Walters was crucial in the reseller strategy. Walters had already started canvassing potential F5 resellers with a view to increasing interest in the products.

Walters said that TechPac saw F5 as a leading provider of application traffic management products. “Instead of building bigger and bigger pipes, customers can use F5 products to better manage traffic on their networks,” Walters said.

Howarth said network traffic management was expected to increase in demand as more end-users sought to do more with less. The time was right for a significant sales increase, he said.
Meanwhile, application traffic management software was an out-of-the-box commodity that lent itself to volume selling and licensing, Howarth said.

“The products are probably coming to maturity now. We have the first people in Australia buying the product as a commodity. They buy some storage, a firewall and then buy an F5 box to go with it,” he said.

Some 10 to 20 percent of F5 box sales today stemmed from volume sales, Howarth said.
F5 Networks products compete with some of those offered by Netscreen, he said. The company offers LAN-based Big-IP, WAN-focused 3-DNS software, a network appliance called FirePass Controller, and an application program interface called iControl.

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