One of the oldest storage vendors in the business, Dot Hill, is as of Wednesday the newest player in the storage channel as it rolls out its first formal channel program.
The company also said it is now making available its first products sold under the "Dot Hill" brand name.
Dot Hill, which was founded in 1999 after the merger of two older storage companies, Box Hill and Artecon, has been focusing mainly on the OEM business with such companies as Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard, said Dave Zimmer, vice president of worldwide channel sales and marketing.
For Dot Hill, the decision to embrace the channel resulted from a need to find other business channels due to a drying up of its traditional OEM business, Zimmer said.
"Dot Hill has over the last 20 years had an OEM focus, and it built its business around Sun," he said. "But about two years ago, that relationship was not renewed. We landed deals with HP and others, but the business with OEMs is shrinking thanks to mergers and acquisitions."
Zimmer, who previously handled channel sales at other storage vendors such as Data Direct and Pillar Data, joined Dot Hill in June to build its channel focus.
Since then, Dot Hill has divided the U.S. market into two geographies. It has hired a two-person team to work the Eastern U.S. and is just bringing a separate team on to work the Western U.S., Zimmer said. The company is also hiring other channel support people and has transferred some of its personnel in Germany and the U.K. to build its European channel business, he said.
A key part of Dot Hill's storage channel strategy is its deal-registration program, which gives solution providers an additional 30 points of margin for registering a deal in advance, Zimmer said.
Dot Hill is also putting in place a certification program for solution providers that wish to provide deployment services and expects it to be available in the fourth quarter, he said.
Also included in the new channel program is full marketing support and both Web-based and face-to-face training.
Dot Hill currently has about 10 solution providers in the U.S. and plans to expand that list to 50 in 2010, with another 50 partners expected to join in Europe during that time, Zimmer said. The company has signed storage specialist Promark Technology as a distributor and is looking to sign others, he said.