EMC's massive push into the SMB storage market during the past few years has paid off for the company that won the 2012 Annual Report Card award for SMB Network Storage. This marks the second win in a row for EMC, which soundly beat Buffalo Technology, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and D-Link in all facets of the product innovation, support and partnership subcategories, which make up the ARC award. Indeed, of all the 18 criteria, EMC only had two narrow losses, in post-sales support and ease of doing business, to Buffalo Technology.
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EMC's SMB network storage products include its VNXe primary storage arrays, its NetWorker and Avamar backup technologies, and its new entry-level Data Domain deduplication products.
Eric Herzog, EMC's senior vice president of product management and product marketing, said post-sales support and ease of doing business were the kind of areas where any small vendor has a potential advantage over a larger competitor.
"Small companies try to compete against large companies especially hard in those two points to show their value to channel partners," Herzog said. "EMC is always endeavoring to increase its support and ease of doing business. We know we're on the right path."
EMC won the ARC award because much of its SMB networked storage product line is available only through channel partners, Herzog said. Also, as the world's largest storage vendor, it's able to bring its higher-end technology to its small business offerings, he said.
Keith Norbie, vice president of Nexus, the Minnetonka, Minn., office of Stratos Management Systems, an Atlanta-based solution provider and EMC partner, said EMC is using Staples' "That Was Easy" approach to bringing enterprise storage features into its SMB network storage line. "Hit the 'Easy' button, and anything you want will happen," Norbie said. Any vendor who really tries can deliver simplicity and ease-of-use, Norbie said. "But can anybody bring enterprise storage capabilities to the SMB?" he said. "Frankly, that should be the design goal for everybody."