Mellanox: Right Time, Market for Interconnect Solutions

If ever there was a right time to be in the data center interconnect business, now is it. The proliferation of Big Data, cloud services and next-generation web technologies make data center infrastructure a hot commodity, and the partners who offer those infrastructure solutions rulers of the data center universe.

Mellanox Technologies (NASDAQ: MLNX) understands well the implications of having high-quality data center interconnects. The company built its business on providing end-to-end infrastructure solutions that feature high-throughput and low latency — features necessary for today’s data center environment. And now the company is hoping its PartnerFIRST program will bring a new level of success to its resellers as they attack these high-value markets.

“Fifteen years ago it was a Wintel world, with Intel and Microsoft steering our needs for technology,” said Darrin Chen, senior director of Worldwide Channels at Mellanox. “But today it’s really governed by four companies — Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google. And lookie here: They’re all cloud plays. So diving deeper, companies are collecting data sets that are so large and so complex that the difficulty of processing them is a huge challenge and that is where our greatest strength lies.”

Chen offered more insights in a FastChat Video (right).

The company has oriented its partner program around profitability for partners, Chen said. “Above and beyond just extending higher discounts for Mellanox solutions, which, by the way, are the highest in our space, we want to make the partner feel like they have a partner. I realize that sounds like a cliche, but we are working on benchmarking what we believe works for the partner for them to drive higher sales as well as maximizing profitability.”

Chen pointed out Mellanox enjoyed 129 percent year-over-year growth in 2012 in a year in which the industry average was just 4 percent growth. “We’ve outpaced all of our peers in this space, and as such we are becoming much more recognizable in terms of what we offer,” he said.

In the next year, Mellanox plans to offer more co-branding marketing tools and more educational initiatives to bolster its month-old partner portal, which currently has “all the standard channel partners require, such as deal registration, pre-sales tools, post-sales tools,” Chen said. “We have plans to really make the whole experience more ideal for [partners].”

He noted also the company has tripled its channel team headcount over the past year — a team that Chen noted “come[s] from different walks of life in terms of the vendors we’ve worked with, hardware, software, servers, storage, etc. And if you look at the combined years of experience they are in the hundreds. Our collective experience hopefully delivers a value set that speaks to partners.”

At the end of the day, however, much of a partner’s success depends on the quality of the technology it sells. And that’s where Mellanox shines, Chen said.

“We offer a complete end to end interconnection that is second to none, to increase data center efficiency and [offer] the highest throughput and lowest latency,” he said. “All of this delivers data faster to applications and maximizes the system performance capabilities. And when you look at these markets like Big Data, Web 2.0 and cloud, that’s what customers are looking for — they need the infrastructure that is fastest available. And everybody knows these markets are the markets to invest in, and as a vendor provider we stand at the forefront of that growth.”

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