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The new program makes it easy to reach out to a wider base of potential NetApp customers ranging from those who want absolute control over all aspects of their storage to those who want NetApp products but can't afford to own the solution, said Rolf Strasheim, director of client solutions at Peak UpTime, a Tulsa, Okla.-based solution provider.
For solution providers like Peak UpTime, working with service providers is the way to get a good start in offering storage as a service, Strasheim said.
"If we see wide adoption of the services going forward, this provides us a chance to test it out," he said. "We can work with service providers who will give us the opportunity for recurring revenue."
Partnering with a larger service provider also gives smaller solution providers a way to take advantage of other work they can do with their customers, Strasheim said.
Parrish said that data centers are evolving from application-based silos to virtual data centers to internal and external clouds, and customers are at different places on that evolution.
As such, they depend on partners to help them understand what they need to do to improve their IT infrastructures and to implement needed changes, Parrish said.
"Customers have questions about how to implement virtualization," she said. "And when you talk the cloud, that's pretty business-specific. Customers are looking at what kind of partners are helpful, and how to work with them."