Bell Micro Division Targets Channel With Small-Biz Storage Offering

Hammer, San Jose, Calif., which until now has focused on the retail market, is opening up to solution providers this week with its first channel program and a new line of low-cost, highly-scalable storage technology from Irvine, Calif.-based startup Zetera.

Hammer’s new Z-Series desktop and rack-mount IP-based storage family is the first to eliminate the trade-offs typically found in storage arrays between price, performance, reliability and scalability, said Ryan Malone, director of channel marketing at Zetera.

Storage appliances using Z-SAN allow immediate expansion of capacity without impacting read and write operations, Malone said. As storage controllers for the disks are added, performance scales up but no extra networking equipment is needed, keeping costs to a minimum, he said.

A Hammer Z-Series desktop appliance with 1 Tbyte of capacity and nearly unlimited scalability lists for $1,299, compared to similar appliances from vendors like Santa Clara, Calif.-based Anthology Solutions, which do not scale and only handle NAS operations, Malone said.

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Shared Patel, CEO of EOB Plus, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and beta tester of the Hammer Z-Series appliance, said the product has proven ideal for his customers, especially for medical imaging needs.

Patel said he has combined up to 16 of the appliances together. “You plug in the box, see it on the screen and assign it a LUN,” he said. “If you know what you want to do for RAID configuration, it takes a few minutes. If you don’t know, it takes longer to understand the configuration than to actually do it.”

Bryan Nash, director of strategic markets for Bell, said his organization saw a gap in the small business offerings of other vendors and decided to fill it.

Hammer’s new line will be available to both its VAR and retail customers, Nash said. For solution providers, the distributor already has a deal registration program and MDFs to help them compete against the likes of CDW.

“We will control the price points to make sure we don’t have an awkward market going forward,” he said.

The products are expected to ship in mid-April, Nash said.