Hitachi Breaks Into Small-Biz Market With Ingram Deal

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based storage giant has signed a worldwide distribution agreement with Ingram Micro aimed at building a channel that can bring its storage arrays into smaller businesses with fewer than 200 users and four to 20 servers, said Scott Genereux, executive vice president and general manager of worldwide sales, channel and support at HDS.

The company is also the first to come out with arrays certified under Microsoft&'s Simple SAN for Windows Server program, aimed at simplifying the installation and configuration of SANs in Windows environments, Genereux said.

Unlike HDS&' existing relationships with distributors such as Arrow and Access, where solution providers have access to products that are configured to order, HDS is looking to Ingram to distribute a fixed product line of six new pre-configured SKUs.

Of the six pre-configured SKUs, three are based on HDS&' WMS100 workgroup arrays, and three are based on the AMS200.

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Both series are aimed at Microsoft Exchange, ERP and CRM environments under Windows and include features such as cache partitioning and up to 512 virtual storage ports. The AMS200 is for more midrange business environments, with scalability to up to 88.5 Tbytes of mixed Fibre Channel and SATA storage. The WMS100 offers a maximum of 42 Tbytes of SATA capacity.

The reduced product line and relationship with Ingram will make it easier for Intertech Computer Products to bring storage to customers, said Mike Novotny, president of the Phoenix-based solution provider.

For smaller solution providers, it is not easy to bring a good storage offering to customers without going through a time-consuming training and certification process, Novotny said.

“The way Hitachi is packaging it, it lets us move more aggressively into the market than we have,” he said. “Everything is SKU&'d up so we can sell and service it without all the authorization. And that&'s attractive to us.”

Pat Edwards, vice president of sales at Alliance Technology Group, a Hanover, Md.-based HDS solution provider who works with Arrow, said the Ingram deal should create more buzz for Hitachi.

“Call me crazy, but it&'s like why a gas station opens across the road from another. As long as it doesn&'t encroach on what I do, which requires certification, it doesn&'t affect me,” Edwards said.

Mark Teter, CTO of Advanced Systems Group, an HDS partner based in Denver, said selling Hitachi won&'t be easy for the new entrants.

“To sell Hitachi right, you have to have engineers,” he said. “That makes us look good. If someone thinks they can just schlep it to their customers, well, there&'s more to it than that.

HDS is providing training and sales tools through Ingram, along with a very simple authorization program with no volume or sales commitment, Genereux said.