Isilon Tapping Channel For Clustered Storage Products

The Seattle-based storage vendor develops storage appliances that can scale up to 168 Tbytes of data capacity, which can be clustered to increase the availability and performance of unstructured data, such as video and audio files, said Tom Pettigrew, vice president of global sales partners at the company.

The clusters can contain from three to 35 nodes, which to the user looks like one big hard drive, Pettigrew said. A failure of one or more nodes will not hurt availability of the data, he said.

Isilon, which was launched in October 2003, has historically sold its clustered storage technology on a direct basis because of the need to bring on initial customers, Pettigrew said. The company started its Smart Partner program last year and currently has about 50 solution providers accounting for a small part of its revenue.

However, Pettigrew said, the company hopes the channel will account for 40 percent of its business by year end and, eventually, up to 90 percent of its business. "Our strategy was never direct, but channel-centric," he said. "It just takes time to ramp up. We feel we can grow a lot more quickly if we go through the channel."

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Isilon is looking to recruit a mixture of solution providers who serve specific verticals and regions, Pettigrew said.

In order to help with recruitment, the company this week is adding a channel-favorable compensation model for its direct-sales staff. Also new is a doubling of channel discounts for opportunities that solution providers register with the company. And for new channel partners, Isilon will provide enhanced discounts for deals closed within the first 90 days of joining the Smart Partner program, Pettigrew said.

Isilon also is providing extra discounts for sales to new customers and for sales into specific verticals such as the oil and gas, media and entertainment, surveillance, federal government and health care, he said.

The company also is working with Bellevue, Wash.-based Knowledge Anywhere, which specializes in building technology-based learning solutions and performance support systems, to develop new modules to support solution providers, Pettigrew said. The first module, aimed at helping sell the Isilon solution, is ready. Other modules for advanced sales and for technical training are expected to be available soon, he said.