All-flash array vendor Pure Storage this week said it has formed its first international partner advisory council as part of a move to help the company and its solution provider base grow.
The company also enhanced its existing channel program and is planning further enhancements including a new tier for its top partners, which could result in them getting, among other benefits, a $200,000 all-flash storage array for demonstrations at no charge, said Michelle Graff, director of worldwide channel programs and marketing for the Mountain View, Calif.-based vendor.
Pure Storage, which two years ago exited stealth mode with $55 million in funding and a commitment to move nearly all of its sales through the channel, has already signed about 100 solution providers worldwide, Graff said.
Solution providers have been helping Pure Storage kick start its business by getting customers to sign on with a "budget grabber," Graff said.
"They bid on a small project, like database acceleration," she said. "Then they start on other projects. Now, about 40 percent of our revenue is follow-on business."
John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and Pure Storage partner, said his company has spent a fair amount of time looking at all-flash arrays from established vendors and from startups, and it has found the incumbents like NetApp, EMC and Hitachi late in coming to market.
IAS chose Pure Storage for a number of reasons, including the fact that Pure Storage Co-founder and CTO John Colgrove was the primary architect for Veritas, which in 2005 was acquired by Symantec to form that company's storage software business, Woodall said.
He also said he has a lot of respect for John Hayes, Pure Storage's founder and chief architect who formerly served in Yahoo's Office of the Chief Technologist. "Pure Storage really has a deep bench," he said.
Pure Storage this month unveiled its first partner advisory council, consisting of 11 initial partners, including two outside of North America, Graff said.
The company also enhanced its Pure Storage Partner Program, or P3, with the addition of a tiered system.
NEXT: New 'Million Dollar Club' With Chance To Get Free $200k Flash ArrayStarting this month, Pure Storage is putting its partners into two tiers, Pure Storage's Graff said. The silver level is for partners that commit to two demand-generation activities per year, while the gold level is for those that commit to at least one demand-generation activity each quarter.
New starting next year is a new tier, tentatively called the Million Dollar Club. This level is for partners that commit to sell at least $1 million in Pure Storage arrays.
"For partners who commit to $1 million, we will provide a $200,000 all-flash array they can put in their lab," Graff said. "They will also qualify for additional discounts and market development funds. We already have 11 partners committed to the program."
The company also introduced PureRewards, which provides extra discounts and margins for registered deals and competitive take-out sales; PureAcademy, an on-line system for sales and technology training; and PureDemand, a new suite of on- and off-line demand generation tools.
This fall, Pure Storage will unroll a mobile app for partners based on marketing automation technology from San Mateo, Calif.-based Marketo. Graff said it will provide such capabilities as spacing out the passing of leads to partners to give them a chance to nurture opportunities, as well as making sure partners' technical personnel have access to the right content when needed, she said.
IAS' Woodall, whose company is a member of Pure Storage's partner advisory council, said he and his fellow executives like what they see from the vendor and its channel programs.
"Pure Storage has great technology and great channel DNA, and are hitting on all the things we feel worth giving advice about," he said. "We know a lot of companies out there. We've done our due diligence. And, we bring a lot of real-world experience that a young company can use."
Woodall said he expects Pure Storage to be one of those standing in the coming shakeout of the all-flash storage array market.
"They understand the channel," he said. "In a few years, there will be a fallout in the flash storage market. I believe that Pure Storage will be one of the survivors."
PUBLISHED JULY 22, 2013