NetApp on Tuesday expanded its reach into the SMB market with the release of a new sub-$8,000 storage unified storage array with optional SSD pooling and other features and services consistent with the vendor's full product line.
NetApp also introduced a new program to help its solution providers connect with cloud providers as a way to step up their services offerings.
The move to embrace a wider range of SMB customers comes at a time when that part of the storage market is looking more and more like an enterprise market, said Todd Palmer, vice president of Americas channels for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor.
"There's little difference between midsize businesses and enterprises anymore," Palmer said. "Midsize and smaller businesses continue to grow, and they are expanding internationally."
For NetApp and its solution providers, that means big business, Palmer said.
NetApp's revenue, 80 percent of which comes through the channel, rose 19 percent in the company's fiscal year fourth quarter.
That growth was lead by NetApp's SMB business. Shipments of the company's SMB-focused FAS2240, which was introduced in November, during the quarter exceed those of the FAS2040, previously its main SMB model, while revenue for the products grew over 20 percent, Palmer said.
With the introduction of the FAS2220, NetApp is bringing its enterprise-class unified storage technology down to the entry level, said Ernie China, marketing manager for the company's solution marketing team.
The FAS2220 has a new controller, giving it a three to seven times faster performance than the FAS2020, which NetApp introduced five years ago.
The FAS2220, like all higher-end NetApp storage solutions, is fully cluster-ready and comes with automated storage tiering, China said. It also runs the same Data ONTAP operating system and features the same management console as the entire NetApp line. "This is unique in this class of product," he said.
Even better, he said, the FAS2220 includes NetApp's Flash Pools technology, which integrates SSDs with the spinning hard drives to increase performance.
The FAS2220 supports up to 60 spinning SATA drives for a maximum capacity of 180 TBs. It can also be configured with six 100-TB SSDs, giving 300 TBs of SSD capacity when those devices are protected by RAID 6, China said.
The FAS204 is going end-of-life with the launch of the FAS2220, while the FAS2020 has already gone into end-of-life, Palmer said.
NEXT: VAR Builds New Business On FAS2220The FAS2220 comes to market just in time for CMT, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based solution provider which is in the process of opening a new division to deal specifically with the SMB market.
Kurt Klein, CMT CEO, said his company has done well with NetApp in its core enterprise business and over the last year recorded significant growth with the vendor.
The release of the FAS2220 corresponds with the opening of CMT's new division, Zen Managed Solutions, focused solely on the SMB market, Klein said.
"The FAS2220 is at the right price point, and it takes advantage of the NetApp brand," he said. "We're not walking into SMBs with tier-two or tier-three storage partners. NetApp is a tier-one storage vendor. Customers can grow their NetApp storage as their business grows. So by walking in with a NetApp solution, we remain sticky with the customer."
NetApp on Tuesday also unveiled its NetApp Get Successful with Cloud Services Program, a new program targeting solution providers looking to get into the cloud-based storage and data protection business.
NetApp does not itself have a storage cloud for customers but instead works with channel partners to give them the information and the partnerships they need to either build their own cloud or partner with third-party providers, Palmer said.
"We're helping our partners choose what path is best for them, and then helping them down that path," he said.
The NetApp Get Successful with Cloud Services Program provides workshops and business modeling tools, professional services templates and training, and contacts with potential service provider partners, Palmer said.
"We help partners talk about what services to offer, and how to work with customers," he said. "We provide professional services and wholesale support including assessments and first-call tech support they can use to drive their cloud business."
While many storage vendors have programs for helping solution providers set up cloud storage businesses, they force partners to set up infrastructures based on their products, Palmer said.
"But a lot of partners don't have the ability to invest in such a system," he said. "So we are introducing our partners to third-party service providers. We ask our partners what services they would like to promote and let them know what they need to get started."
Klein said that NetApp has already started providing marketing funds and other resources including third-party introduction to help CMT ramp up the cloud. It has also hosted seminars to help partners better understand the cloud, he said.
"They are good seminars," he said. "They challenge us on how to ask customers the right questions and how to articulate to customers the ROI model of on-premise vs. the cloud."