NetApp Rolls Out Channel-Only iSCSI SAN Bundles

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based storage vendor has been offering hardware, application software and storage protocol bundles to its channel partners since last year to give solution providers the opportunity to go out and create their own street prices, said Leonard Iventosch, vice president of NetApp’s North American channels.

“There are always questions about whether direct or channel sales drive prices,” Iventosch said. “This eliminates the question.”

Bundles also make it easier for solution providers to create their own service offerings around a solution, Iventosch said.

“Nine out of 10 times, our partners wrap their own services around the solution,” he said. “So they don’t worry they might get beat by another partner, or by [NetApp OEM partner] IBM. Instead, they use services to keep the customer.”

Sponsored post

Merrill Likes, president of UpTime, an Edmond, Okla.-based solution provider, said the economy and simplicity of iSCSI vs. Fibre Channel for building storage networks has made it popular with customers.

NetApp’s bundling strategy has proved to be the best way for smart sales reps to stay competitive, Likes said.

Bundles are especially good for the larger small- and midsize-business customers, Likes added. “There, customers have some budget and can act quicker on a purchase,” he said.

Over the past week, NetApp has been quietly introducing its channel partners to four new storage bundles based on iSCSI technology, said Debbie Medal, senior director of partner communications.

The bundles are based on one of three different iSCSI arrays configured with SATA and/or Fibre Channel drives in specific configurations. They support CIFS (Common Internet File System) file sharing and iSCSI protocols, and include SnapManager data snapshot software for Microsoft Exchange or SQL. The company expects the bundles to ship next week with list prices starting at about $15,000.

During the next few weeks, NetApp also plans to engage in co-op marketing with its top solution provider partners, and will continue its partner-recruitment push, Iventosch said.

“We always had a philosophy that a smaller number of resellers is better,” he said. “But we now know that we need more resellers to grow.”