F5 Networks Inc. is expanding its UNITY partner program with the GUARDIAN professional services partner program, a new specialization designed to offer expanded support for partners working in the consulting and the professional services space. F5 Networks says the program will reward partners that have made the largest investments in the F5 ecosystem and will help partners expand their capabilities with the F5 portfolio, including revenue and sales growth, plans on creating more “strategic” customer relationships and even market promotion.
Partners that suit up for GUARDIAN can focus on four “authorization tiers,” including installation provider, advanced implementation provider, application security provider or an optimization provider. Partners will have access to best practices in these spaces, including pre-packaged offerings and on-demand F5 assistance and technical support. As a bonus, partners will also see discounts on training and certification exams.
GUARDIAN is also about reinforcing education – partners that wish to join need to meet all existing UNITY partner program requirements, in addition to having “a required number of personnel certified at the appropriate level” inside the existing F5 professional certification program. F5 Networks did not disclose specifics as interested partners are required to contact their F5 channel account manager to start the process.
Dean Darwin, senior vice president of worldwide partners at F5 Networks offered a prepared statement, expressing that GUARDIAN is more than just another extension of the UNITY program it’s about ensuring partners are “…recognized and rewarded for their skills and are in position to offer customers new services.”
F5 Networks efforts to make GUARDIAN a top-tier partner program were bolstered by a “year-long design and pilot phase,” which centered exclusively around global partner feedback. That level of focus will continue to be placed on the program, as F5 plans on using “key performance indicators to ensure all partners are well equipped and all customers are receiving the level of service expected from GUARDIAN partners.
F5 Networks bills itself as an application delivery networking specialist (ADN) and has focused heavily on traffic optimization and management. More recently, F5 has kept an eye on the security space, launching a security accreditation program in December, a sign of F5′s efforts to diversify its solution portfolio. F5 also made a virtualized version of its BIG-IP appliance available at Amazon.com Inc’s Amazon Web Services, providing load balancing, traffic management and app optimization all via the cloud.
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