New Cdn strategy for low-profile networking company

Allied Telesis Inc. has been quietly selling its routers and switches in this country for some time without making much noise. It has decided to stop being so modest.

“We unfortunately neglected the Canadian market for a couple of years,” says Kevin Gallagher, the Tokyo-based company’s senior manager of partner development.

Rather than emphasize new products and solutions, it has relied on its roster of customers ordering boxes through distributors.

With the recent launch of its Star Partner Program the company is in the middle of an aggressive campaign to recruit dozens of resellers and system integrators to offer more solutions to network managers.

So far this year Allied Telesis (once known as Allied Telesyn in some countries) has signed up 25 new Canadian partners, says Scott Fryer, the new country manager. “We’re looking to double that in 2011,” he added.

Target markets are governments and the health-care industry where there’s a need to push high bandwidth data, officials said. In addition, with alliances with other manufacturers, it has been getting into assembling IP video surveillance solutions.

Gallagher and Fryer were two of four company officials interviewed recently on what they say is a re-launching of the 25-year company – whose North American headquarters is in San Jose, Calf. – in this country.

They say it offers customers flexibility in products, and, once its partner program gets underway in earnest, partners well-trained in integration.

The company has a range of Layer 3 Gigabit and Fast Ethernet switches, media converters as well as WAN and multi-service routers for small, medium and enterprise businesses.

The most recently announced products include the AT-8100 series of stackable edge switches with fixed dual redundant power supplies, and the SwitchBlade 6000S series of multi-layer switches for enterprises and service providers.

Unlike many networking companies whose products use proprietary chipsets, Allied Telesis products use silicon from other chipmakers, which it says gives them an advantage.

“We’re an excellent engineering company,” said Vince Ricco, a company solutions architect. “We have software and hardware engineers to really pull out the capabilities of this merchant silicon. For example, he said, some models can offer eight queues of quality of service compared to three from some competitors.

However, analyst Zeus Kerravala, senior vice-president of Yankee Group, says Allied Telesis will have trouble differentiating itself from even modestly-sized competitors such as Brocade Communications Systems Inc.

Ricco replied that customers have the ability to pick from a lineup that goes from the desktop to the data centre core with plenty of port options.

In addition, the company can offer flexible support, thanks in part to a Canadian warehouse, promising replacement services in as little as four hours. Through a partnership with IBM Global Services, he added, additional support can be arranged.

Improving the ability of resellers and solution providers to design and install solutions will also be a differentiator, he said.

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