Kemp needs VARs to take the load

Man pressing a screen to choose software

US load balancing specialist Kemp Technologies is hoping to carve out a niche in the UK with a range of low-cost appliances – and is on the hunt for channel partners to target SMBs.

The vendor, which is using $16m it received in VC funding last year on product development and establishing a European sales channel, has appointed ex-Radware and Zeus Technology sales exec Leigh Bradford (pictured) to grow the business in the UK.

Kemp maintains that although load balancing has traditionally being too costly for SMBs, there’s a growing demand from smaller firms. According to Bradford, SMBs are now using multiple servers and applications and “even in the smaller companies, high availability is becoming key. A company’s dependency on software and email is greater and their willingness to allow for downtime is reducing. The moment you add an additional server to build in high availability you need a load balancer.”

Unlike its rivals, Kemp says it is the only vendor that tailors its products for small businesses. “No-one else is in that space,” says Bradford, who adds Kemp’s LoadMaster products – which range from £1,200 to £20,000 – provide “80 percent of [the features of] enterprise-class offering, but at 30 percent of the cost.”

Commenting on rival Riverbed – which acquired software-based load balancing and traffic management firm Zeus last year – Bradford maintains: “Riverbed positions itself as an enterprise class ADC / load balancer solution with an enterprise price tag. Being software it comes in [at] slightly lower cost than its hardware enterprise competitors but is still far greater cost than Kemp.”

Kemp currently has two UK distributors; thin client specialist Getech and Zycko, which it signed a Europe-wide distribution agreement with last year. Darran Clare, head of IP at Zycko agrees with Bradford’s assertion that Kemp’s price point is a key differentiator: “Larger vendors may produce similar products but they’re designed for the medium to high-end of the market and contain advanced functionality that makes them too expensive for the smaller SMBs... Kemp has an extremely attractive price point that allows those businesses to invest in on-premise load balancing.”

According to Bradford, the vendor is already transacting at $1m a year in the UK, and would like to see this rise to $2m this year. “We have aggressive targets that we’ll only achieve through selling through partners,” he says.

Still in the early stages of building its indirect channel, Kemp has “five or six” authorised resellers, though it would like to grow this number to 15-20 partners. Bradford cites Microsoft resellers as potential targets, with the move to Microsoft Lync and Exchange.

The vendor has also signed its first ‘KEMPCentre’– East Sussex-based System Professional. This highest level of accreditation provides benefits such as volume rebates, increased margins, access to Kemp engineers and enhanced marketing and sales referral programmes. Bradford describes System Professional as “self sufficient” and is hoping to recruit “another one or two” KEMPCentre partners.

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.