Storage vendor NetApp this week introduced a new lower-cost model in its entry-level FAS2000 product line-up, and made it easier for partners to sell that entire line with new product bundles for its solution providers.
The new FAS2040 storage appliance offers double the performance of NetApp's existing FAS2050 appliance, said Todd Palmer, vice president Americas channel sales. It also has a maximum capacity of 136 TBs, compared to 104 TBs for the FAS2050, Palmer said.
The FAS2040 also includes four Gbit Ethernet and one integrated SAS ports per controller, and can be configured for dual controllers for redundancy.
While the price-performance ration of the FAS2040 is better than those of the FAS2050, NetApp is keeping the FAS2050 in its product line-up to meet customer needs for higher-end configurations requiring 10-Gbit Ethernet, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), and room for additional Fibre Channel and Gbit Ethernet ports, said Bharat Badrinath, director of NAS solutions at NetApp.
The FAS2050 also has DC power and NEBS3 capabilities, Badrinath said.
The FAS2040 is faster than the FAS2050; it costs less; it works with NetApp's new storage shelf; and it has native SAS capability, said Rolf Strasheim, director of client solutions at Peak UpTime, a Tulsa, Okla.-based solution provider and NetApp partner.
"These are all great things when competing in this market," Strasheim said.
The FAS2040 is a natural evolution of the FAS2000 line, Strasheim said. "NetApp has always maintained it's a software company, so it's the software the customer really buys," he said. "But the company constantly refreshes its hardware as new technology comes to market."
To help make it easier for partners to sell NetApp's products, the company has made a few changes in its product line and program, Palmer said.
The big change was to reduce the number of SKUs (stocking units) for NetApp's FAS2000 product line. There are now 10 different possible SKUs, compared to 45 previously, Palmer said. The reduction is a result of new product bundles which now consolidate many of the software and licensing options, he said.
That's an important move for NetApp, said Keith Norbie, vice president of sales at Nexus Information Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based solution provider and NetApp partner.
The bundles take the complexity out of configuring the FAS2000 appliances, Norbie said. "It puts together the most commonly-purchased parts," he said. "We don't have to detail every aspect of the configuration. This simplifies the pre-sales and configuration processes."
For instance, Norbie said, without the bundles, if a customer makes a change to part of a configuration, it could impact the total discount structure of the price. "With the bundles, we have fewer overall change aspects," he said. "It's a lot easier for us to go to market with NetApp."
NetApp also changed the name of its channel program to the NetApp Partner Program to reflect the wide range of partner types that work with the company, including direct marketers, systems integrators, and so on, Palmer said.
The company also unveiled a new solution center to provide partners with a new technical support hotline and access to a wide range of technical and competitive information, Palmer said. The company also plans to add a new channel support team to help partners with pre-sales and post-sales and services support, he said.
Also new is Campaign Express, which provides sales campaign content that partners can use with their own branding.
The new FAS2040 is currently available with a starting price of $11,690. The company's current low-end model, the FAS2020, was dropped in price to $7,920 with the introduction of the FAS2040.