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In the past year or so since EMC unveiled its Insignia small-business storage line, based on its AX150 array, Retrospect software, and small-business versions of many of its legacy applications, the vendor has signed up 1,300 new Velocity SMB solution providers through Tech Data and Ingram Micro, and even through CDW or PC Connection, said John Palmer, vice president and general manager of EMC Insignia.
"Sometimes they can get better pricing when buying through CDW or PC Connection," he said.
Such solution providers really need the support of a large manufacturer to help develop their storage business, Palmer added.
"Small-business VARs are themselves typically small," he said. "Their challenge is business development. They have a good handle on running their business, but they don't have the resources for business development, or the time to bring in new customers."
HP, unlike EMC and NetApp, has been working with small-business solution providers on a wide range of servers and storage equipment for years, and about half of its small business goes through the channel, said Harry Baeverstad, general manager for network-attached storage.
"We clearly see this as a growth opportunity for HP and will continue to invest in it," he said.
HP, Palo Alto, Calif., late last year unveiled its sub-$5,000 All-in-One storage appliance, and in February unveiled a disk-to-disk backup appliance that lists for about $2,000 with 1 Tbyte of capacity. Last week, HP enhanced its small-business offering with its HP StorageWorks MediaVault Pro, a NAS device for small-business file-sharing and online collaboration. It lists for $1,000 with 1 Tbyte of capacity, Baeverstad said.
NetApp plans to continue to enhance its StoreVault small-business array line with both higher-end and lower-end models, Krishnan said.
"We're also toying with the idea of services-in-a-box," he said. "For example, we might offer backup services which can be sold to a customer but hosted by the VAR. But we're still just thinking about it."
Just this week, NetApp signed a reseller deal with CDW for its StoreVault appliances. Krishnan said that while his company's other solution providers might not like competing with CDW, they can always beat it on pricing by registering the deal. The signing could actually help these solution providers by bringing more awareness of the StoreVault products to small businesses, Krishnan said.
"VARs will gain from awareness via CDW," he said. "We're bloodying the waters, and will attract more customers to our channel."
Palmer would not be specific about EMC's future small-business storage plans other than to say it will continue to innovate in hardware and software for storage and adjacent products including security and compliance.
"We have the products internally to handle these challenges," he said. "We're working with [the whole of] EMC to find the products and partnerships to innovate in this marketplace."
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