Q&A: New CA Storage GM Crest Takes Aim At Symantec


CA this week named Mike Crest general manager of its storage group as it steps up its march to dramatically increase its share in the Managed Service Provider (MSP) and cloud channel.

Crest, a 12-year CA veteran, will oversee the $4.2 billion software giant's Recovery Management & Data Modeling (RMDM) organization, including its popular ARCserve product.

Crest replaced staunch channel advocate Adam Famularo who moved to a new role as general manager of CA's Cloud Customer Solutions unit. CA also named channel superstar David Roberts, a former channel chief for Websense and McAfee, as vice president of channel strategy for its storage group.

In an interview with CRN Editor, News Steven Burke and Senior Editor Joseph F. Kovar, Crest spoke about his plans to help partners increase services revenue and challenge rival Symantec.

What impact will the channel changes you are making have on profit margins for partners and the storage business unit?

Today, we are really 2X our competition in terms of profitability for our partner model. We will continue to exploit those same tenets going forward. We think there is huge market opportunity for the evolution of the VAR community to become MSPs. My experience has been such that if you can capture more share in terms of providing a total service for a customer you not only have an opportunity to gain greater margin and greater revenue for your particular business, but you also have a captive audience to continue a more sustaining type of relationship that can sustain downturns in the economy and heavy competitive pressures. That gives partners the ability to create a longer, more meaningful relationship with customers. That is my aspiration.

How quick can you bring an integrated stack [made up of multiple CA products] to the table for the current storage partners?

Our focus right now is really to drive world class execution in the storage market. So we see huge upside for our partners there around MSP, cloud computing.

We think that data is going to be the precursor to almost everything as it relates to that. Customers aren't going to be willing to relinquish their applications or their infrastructure to a third party unless you have the ability to ensure that particular data is backed up in a reliable fashion and available. That is our mission. We believe we have enough opportunity for us and our partners right here, right now within the Recovery Management & Data Modeling business unit. That is our mission over the next year or so.

Is there one competitor in your sights as you look at this market?

Absolutely. I think Symantec is clearly the one that is in our sights both from a market standpoint as well as the technology stack. We believe that what we are doing around data deduplication in terms of embedding it into ARCserve is creating a more profitable experience for our partners to take advantage of that and of greater functionality, from backup to disk, while revolutionizing what is happening in the marketplace with replication of high availability.

Nobody is taking advantage of not only today's environment, preparing our customers and our partners for that in a much better way, but also for the future. The future we think again rests upon the ability to have a multi-premise capability taking advantage of cloud computing, on-premise and everything in between. We think we are better equipped and better capable.

 

Next: The Need For A Partner Ecosystem


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