LeftHand Networks has signed on with Alternative Technology, bringing the specialty distributor its first storage hardware product as it tries to push virtualization technologies deeper into the channel.
Alternative Technology, an Englewood, Colo.-based unit of Arrow Electronics Enterprise Computing Solutions, will sell LeftHand's iSCSI SAN and SAN/iQ storage software to its 3,000 reseller customers, and is offering training and pre-sales support. The products will be generally available on Nov. 7.
The addition of LeftHand gels with Alternative's virtualization push, said Tom Zorn, executive vice president.
"We really felt the time had come for us to address the issue of storage a little bit more than we had been, and it was also a play in our security arena. Rather than try to get involved with legacy fibre SAN and NAS, we would like to get the leading-edge technology which we feel iSCSI is," said Zorn.
"We feel that we have a customer base that is very familiar with the Ethernet/TCP IP world and this made it easier for them to play in this arena because it was something they were effectively used to doing," he said.
Alternative will market the iSCSI SAN appliance to its Microsoft community and VARs focusing on disaster recovery. It's also going after Citrix and VMWare resellers who haven't addressed storage because of its complexity, Zorn said.
"There is a lot of upside as far as we're concerned with where Alternative Tech is going," he said. "We can also leverage our Arrow connections if customers do find that they need a fibre SAN or a NAS or something in that arena. We have that available to our VARs without us having to learn entire new worlds."
For six-year-old LeftHand Networks, its relationship with Arrow upped the appeal of Alternative Technology when it looked to add to its distribution line-up. LeftHand also sells through ProMark and Avnet.
"As our product set evolves and as the market we're in evolves, we're constantly looking at the profile of our channel partners and their areas of expertise and the lines they carry and we've redefined the profile of the distributors we need because of our product set and our go-to-market focus. They're part of the Arrow group and therefore they have access to IBM and HP hardware which is a compliment to our software," said David Bangs, vice president of sales at LeftHand Networks.
Most important, he said, is Alternative Technology's position as a strong high-volume VMWare distributor because VMWare is a very complimentary play to LeftHand's SAN/iQ software.
LeftHand has eschewed the broadline distributors like Ingram Micro and Tech Data in favor of Avnet and Arrow because of their focus on the storage market.
"Avnet and Arrow truly are value-add when it comes to SAN sales. They understand the storage market. They've got a storage and virtualization-centric channel that they serve. They have the depth of skills to be able to configure, architect and quote a solution without us having to be too involved in that process. That's their value-add," said Bangs.
"Alternative Technology's ability to be able to go champion a relatively new technology like VMWare like they have over the past few years was appealing to us as well, and while they're part of the Arrow group, they certainly seem to be nimble and fast to move, which is important for us too," he said.
Bangs said that LeftHand expects as much as half of its sales to come from Alternative Technology in the future.