Storage Vendor Overland Prepares For Life After HP

Two weeks ago, the San Diego-based tape storage vendor announced that Hewlett-Packard—its largest tape automation OEM customer—will sever its relations with Overland next year. Last week, Overland revealed an expanded product strategy and new channel efforts to overcome the loss.

HP&'s impending absence as an OEM spells opportunity to Dave Holloway, executive vice president of West Coast Technology, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based solution provider.

“There was conflict in HP accounts, so from our perspective, things will actually get better,” Holloway said. “For the channel, we can now attack HP accounts with a real vengeance. Before, they were untouchable. And if Overland offers an upgrade for its products that HP sold, that&'s a real opportunity for us.”

What&'s more, Overland is losing HP&'s tape backup business at a time when customers are flocking to disk-based systems.

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This explains Overland&'s announcement last week that it is acquiring Zetta Technologies, a small developer of software used to build enterprise-class primary storage arrays.

Christopher Calisi, president and CEO of Overland, said the company will be among the few vendors offering the channel an integrated product line, with primary storage from Zetta Systems, secondary disk-based backup storage with Overland&'s Reo products and tape archiving via Overland&'s Neo library line.

“If they can expand beyond backup, it will make it a more flexible product line,” said Don McNaughton, sales manager at HorizonTek, a Huntington, N.Y.-based solution provider.

Also last week, Overland brought in a new vice president of worldwide sales, George Karabatsos, formerly the vice president of reseller channel sales and marketing at StorageTek.

Karabatsos will oversee Overland&'s global sales efforts and strengthen its channel relationships, Calisi said. “The channel is most important to us,” he said. “It&'s been our growth driver, and will be going forward.”

That is reflected in how Overland&'s channel has changed since Calisi joined the company four years ago. At that time, the channel accounted for about $20 million of Overland&'s revenue, compared with about $100 million today. “We&'ve done a nice job of diversifying the business,” Calisi said. “Years ago, [the loss of HP] could have been fatal.”