2012 Channel Champions: Enterprise Network Storage

Dell, which has made storage a cornerstone of its strategy of providing end-to-end enterprise technology, appears to have successfully won over solution providers, who overwhelmingly chose the company as the Enterprise Network Storage Channel Champion for 2012.

In doing so, Dell beat last year's winner, NetApp, as well as its own former partner EMC, by winning every criteria in the technical satisfaction, support satisfaction and financial factors ratings, giving it a solid overall win over its nearest competitor.

Bob Skelley, global certified partner program and channel executive director for Dell, said the win comes from a world-class product portfolio built on combining the strong technology received through acquisitions. That includes adding Ocarina dedupe technology and Exanet NAS technology to its EqualLogic and Compellent lines.

Dell's biggest lead over the competition came in the financial factors rating, which Skelley said was no surprise given the strength of the company's deal registration program.

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Dell also has made it clear to its direct reps the importance of the channel, Skelley said. "Our sales reps sit down with partners to talk strategy," he said. "And they no longer say they are direct reps, but may instead say, 'I'm an SMB rep who works with partners and customers.'"

Patrick Mulvee, vice president of sales and marketing at Sidepath, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and Dell partner, said Dell's acquisitions of channel-focused storage companies, such as EqualLogic and Compellent, have made the company realize the importance of the channel.