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"Also, look at the ecosystem in the U.S.," she said. "This is a market that can make us better in innovation. The U.S. accounts for about 40 percent of IT spending. There are a lot of demanding customers here, so we have to get better. So it's important for us to have product management and R&D here."
There is another even more basic reason why Huawei Symantec has to be in North America, Li said. "Both of our parent companies are global companies," she said. "They expect us to be a global company."
Huawei Symantec currently works with about 40 solution providers in the U.S. through two distributors, Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Condre Storage and Fremont, Calif.-based Synnex.
However, Li said, the company is not targeting the custom system business.
"Historically, companies are either good at the OEM business or at the channel business, but not both," she said. "You need to be close to the customer to succeed in the channel business. OEMs focus on cost. Symantec and Huawei are two companies with a lot of motivated engineers. They look at how to get more features sets, and less at how to build for someone else."
One solution provider, Condor Storage, first started working with Huawei Symantec via Condre when a customer needed a low-cost storage infrastructure, said Jeanne Wilson, president of the Sedona, Ariz.-based VAR.
"It was very affordable," Wilson said. "The customer got two Oceanspace S2600s for under $18,000 total, and they worked great. The customer tested it by pulling out drives and RAID controllers, and found them still operating as promised."
Huawei Symantec's SAN and NAS storage lines, including its scalable NAS offerings, compete quite well with other products offered by Condor, including the entire EMC line, Wilson said. She said the main competition to Huawei Symantec is probably Dell's EqualLogic line.
"That's everybody's main competitor in the iSCSI market," she said. "Last year, EqualLogic had revenue of about $900 million. If we have to take that market $15,000 at a time, we will."
It also helps that one of the vendor's parents has one of the most recognizable brands in the U.S., Wilson said. "Symantec brings it name-brand recognition," she said.
Mpak Technologies, a Santee, Calif.-based systems integrator, is already using Huawei Symantec as a way to compete against more established scalable NAS vendors such as Isilon, Panasas, and BlueArc, said Founder and President Mike Kornblum.
Scale-out NAS customers typically sign $5 million to $20 million deals, and the performance of the Huawei Symantec hardware combined with Symantec software helped Mpak win deals with the U.S. government and a large contract at the University of Tennessee SimCenter: National Center for Computational Engineering, Kornblum said. "We're going to rock the world of the tier ones," he said.
"Huawei is the Cisco of China," Kornblum said. "They are manufacturing to carrier-grade specifications. And they have the Symantec name and the Symantec file system. NAS is just a file system, and Symantec has the fastest one."
Prior to switching to Huawei Symantec, Mpak worked with a Taiwan-based competitor, Infortrend for a dozen years, Kornblum said. He said he made the switch to Huawei Symantec after Infortrend started moving more of its business through direct marketers. It also helped that Huawei Symantec hired a former Infortrend solutions architecture, Alan Johnson, as its senior manager for customer solution and engineering, he said.
Johnson is not the only former Infortrend employee at Huawei Symantec. The company's sales manager, sales director, and others also came from Infortrend. The company also has a number of ex-EMC people.
Next: On The Competitive Front