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Virtualization Startup Autovirt Flips Switch On New Channel Program

Autovirt, a startup that's making a name for itself in the virtualization space, unveils its first channel program in an effort to get serious about enabling partners.

Autovirt's channel program, unveiled Monday, includes Basic and Premier tiers and is built to get OEMs and VARs educated and up to speed on re-selling the Nashua, N.H.-based vendor's flagship data migration and global namespace software, according to Warren Mead, Autovirt's vice president of sales.

Autovirt's program includes deal registration that gives Premier level partners 40 percent margin, compared to 10 percent margin for Basic tier partners. The idea is to protect early movers from getting undercut by competitors, something that's been happening frequently in the virtualization space, Mead said.

"The channel partners we work with are familiar with losing deals. These guys have been bitten number of times before," Mead said in a recent interview. "If the Premier partner ever loses the deal, we'll pay that 30 percent difference. We will protect that partner if someone comes in and beats them on price."

Autovirt's technology identifies and analyzes file data in storage area networks and cloud computing environments, helping companies to prioritize critical data on high performance storage and relegate other data to less expensive storage tiers.

Autovirt also helps pinpoint problems with file permissions and corrupted data, which can add to the time and expense behind data migration projects. Dean Cappellazzo, CEO of Bedrock Technology Partners, a San Mateo, Calif.-based solution provider, says Autovirt ably tackles the task of managing unstructured data in heterogeneous NAS environments.

"Our customers recognize that they can't possibly manage their data storage environment if they don't even know what's there," Cappellazzo said.

Mead, who joined Autovirt in July, previously ran North American sales and channels for Akorri Networks, which NetApp acquired in January. Prior to Mead's arrival, Autovirt had been working with around 30 partners but wasn't doing anything around partner enablement, and the new program is intended to tie up this loose end.

Autovirt launched sales certifications for partners three weeks ago, in which VARs can watch 35 minutes of training videos and then take an online certification test. Mead said the process for technical certifications is a bit longer and more intense, and Autovirt plans to roll that out in the coming weeks.

Premier partners also have access to co-branded partner landing pages, which include product overview information and demos that track how long customers spend on the site and what they click on, information that can then be used to qualify leads and shorten sales cycles, Mead said.

"Tools like this make ramping up the channel that much easier," Mead said.

Autovirt is also giving partners a free 14-day assessment tool that can scan a customer's network and show them what data they've got on tier one storage, while also flagging errors prior to kicking off data migration projects. The tool, which Autovirt developed based on feedback from NetApp's professional services arm, gives partners a wedge for creating new sales opportunities, said Mead.

"The big problem with data migration is accurately scoping what has to be moved and figuring out if there are going to be file system errors," said Mead.

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