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Adtran Pursues a Virtual Path to the Channel

 

Adtran is looking for a different type of channel partner to help expand the company’s footprint in the wireless networking space.

Instead of building separate controllers and management consoles, Adtran has taken a virtual approach to managing wireless networks that leverages the large installed base of VMware virtual machines.

Most recently, Adtran upgraded its Bluesocket vWLAN technology, which the company gained with the acquisition of Bluesocket in 2011,  to allow managed service providers to deploy its software as a service in a multi-tenant environment. Prior to that, Adtran enhanced its overall channel program to improve the profitability of selling the company’s overall portfolio.

According to Christopher Koeneman, vice president of the Bluesocket division of Adtran, it’s pretty clear at this juncture that the managed of anything related to IT is going to be down through virtual machine platform such as VMware. In fact, VMware for its part is already promoting the concept of the virtual data center, while at the same time extending its reach into software-defined networking by acquiring Nicera, a provider of software-defined networking (SDN) software in 2012.

Rather than take on networking vendors such as Cisco head on in the channel, Koeneman says Adtran is looking for channel partners with virtualization expertise that want to extend the portfolio of the services they offer into wireless networking.

Koneneman says this approach ultimately will appeal to customers because it eliminates the need for separate management platforms while providing a software-centric approach to wireless LANs that scales up in accordance to the principles of Moore’s Law, versus relying on custom controllers that are usually built on top of proprietary ASIC technologies.

While Adtran is primarily leveraging VMware, Koneneman notes that the company’s approach to wireless LAN management is hypervisor agnostic. As other virtual machine platforms gain market share, Koeneman says channel partners should expect to see Adtran expand its virtualization reach.

It’s too early to say whether Adtran will be able to ride VMware’s coattails into the wireless LAN market successfully. But as the IT landscape continues to shift it’s apparent that the lines between different classes of products and technologies are starting to blur. And as any channel veteran knows, once you get that level of disruption in the market almost anything becomes possible.

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