SP500 Winner: Storage - Varrow Goes Deep With EMC

Success for Varrow in the storage market came from a deep focus not only on technology, but also by hitching itself to a single vendor, EMC.

Varrow, No. 244 on the Solution Provider 500 list, specializes in storage, converged infrastructure, virtualization and disaster recovery, offering managed services along with an Infrastructure-as-a-Service platform via its own cloud platform and network operations center, said Dan Weiss, CEO and co-founder of the Greensboro, N.C.-based solution provider.

Becoming "EMC centric" was no accident, Weiss said. "We knew that something as fundamental to the data center as storage needs focus," he said. "We want to be an inch wide and a mile deep. By focusing on one vendor, we get the relationship we need to scale our business. EMC was one of the top three or four storage vendors when we formed Varrow, and still is. So, we felt we made the right decision."

Going a "mile deep" with EMC means being among the first solution providers to embrace EMC's latest offerings, including the Vblock converged infrastructure developed by VCE, the jointventure company formed by EMC and Cisco, as well as EMC's new VSPEX converged infrastructure reference architecture.

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EMC's relationship with Cisco in the VCE joint venture means that Cisco is Varrow's only server partner, Weiss said. Previously, the solution provider was more agnostic. "If the customer had a relationship with Hewlett-Packard or Dell, we encouraged the customer to work with those vendors. But since Cisco came out with its servers, and has proven itself in the market, our focus is on Cisco."

For Varrow, success has come mainly from midmarket and commercial customers, especially in the health-care industry.