Celestix Network Inc., a Fremont, Calif.-based manufacturer of secure, ready-to-deploy server appliances has released its latest box, the Celestix One FV930, as the company looks to sign a distribution agreement with Tech Data Canada.

According to Umar Hammed, vice president of strategic alliances

for Celestix, Tech Data is one of the company’s distribution partners in the U.S and he is looking to partner with Tech Data in Canada.

Currently, Celestix has EMJ Data Systems Ltd., of Guelph, Ont., as a distributor and Toronto-based Binary Marketing Inc., as its manufacturer’s representative.

The FV930 is Celestix’ first rack mount appliance and it integrates Check Point Software Technologies VPN-1, Firewall-1, and the Next Generation Internet security solution.

The FV930 is targeted for mid-size companies from 100 employees up to 1,000. The company already has a line up of appliances that can fit into the SMB space and in 2003 can even go up to 15,000 users, Hammed said.

“”(The FV930) is suited for something like a 500 retail store enterprise where you would need to get one appliance into every store. Large opportunities is where this box shines,”” Hammed said.

Celestix boxes feature an LCD panel built right in front of the system. Users plug it into the network and can set up an IP configuration right on the box, Hammed said.

With others you need a PC to configure. The Celestix solution is ideal for branch offices and for non-IT employees to set up, Hammed added.

Ayal Cohen, president of Binary Marketing, said Celestix boxes can be controlled, managed and configured remotely using the Web. This feature can provide residual income for a VAR who wants to manage these boxes remotely.

Celestix has had some success partnering in Canada with VARs who resell Check Point, Cohen said.

“”You are already buying the product (Check Point). With Celestix it helps you implement the solution a lot faster.

In the past integration type VARs would have to source out point solutions such as Check Point and then build a white box server and resell it.

“”(With Celestix) the VAR does the same thing only with less work and he will be sure the system is bulletproof,”” Cohen said.

The Celestix box is certified by Check Point, he added.

The FV930 starts at US$3,999.

According to IDC, the server appliance market will shoot up to US$31 billion in 2005. Canadian appliance sales this year has surpassed the $500 million mark. The majority of those sales are for storage (54 per cent), the IDC report read, with security being ranked second at 22 per cent.

Celestix has also embarked on an appliance initiative for ISVs. The company wants to help ISVs customize their applications for Linux and for Celestix boxes. For ISVs who want to partner with Celestix, they will receive a toolkit that contains hardware boxes, 10 hours of engineering time with from the company and Celestix will test the solution for the ISV.

“”With this initiative ISVs can sell their solution in an appliance for one price or just the software for another,”” Hammed said.

The market leader is clearly Nokia, both Cohen and Hammed admit, but Celestix, the No. 2 player just in front of HP, believes the company’s geographic VAR strategy will help to cut into Nokia’s lead.

According to Cohen, Celestix wants to have four or five VARs in all of the main geographic areas in Canada.

Along with the 30 per cent margin opportunity Celestix boxes average, Cohen said these VARs will be able to price the product the way they like.

“”Celestix is controlling the competition in the channel. Celestix VARs will not be competing with each other,”” Cohen said.

He added that Binary will be providing all of the sales training and support for Celestix VARs in Canada.

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