Hitachi Looks To Software, Partners For Future Growth

While HDS doesn't break out channel vs. direct-sales figures, the channel is playing an ever-more important role, especially as the $2.2 billion company competes against EMC, a $6 billion company, said Dave Roberson, president and COO of HDS, Santa Clara, Calif.

"That's why I say [to partners], 'When I see you, I see revenue,' " he said. "Maybe I should say, 'When I see you, I need revenue.' "


Roberson believes the channel will be instrumental in competing with EMC.

HDS has traditionally shied away from software at the application level, but that is changing, as evidenced by recent pacts with Ixos Software and AppIQ, Roberson said.

Solution providers say HDS is hitting the right target by emphasizing the importance of storage.

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Customers insist that the storage devices they purchase are the right ones for their applications, said Mark Oakes, vice president at Technical Solutions, a Troy, Mich.-based solution provider. "Hardware today has to prove itself ready for customers' applications."

At the conference, James Beckman, HDS' senior director of hardware platform marketing, said the vendor plans to offer NAS blades and iSCSI connectivity for its 9900 V family of arrays in the first quarter of 2004, and iSCSI for its 9500 V series is planned for third quarter. HDS also plans to unveil a Serial ATA-based low-cost array early next year.

On the channel front, Charlie Wallace, HDS' director of global channel marketing, told solution providers at the conference that the company will offer spiffs of $500 to $2,500 on sales of its storage arrays between Nov. 17 and March 31, and an additional 10 percent of the spiff will go to the solution provider's system engineer who worked on the deal.

HDS also reactivated its lead-generation program and will work with a third-party company to ensure only leads that can be closed within 30 days are passed to partners, Wallace said.

Hope Hayes, president of Alliance Technology Group, a Hanover, Md.-based solution provider, said the new spiffs seem to be a great program. "It's great our [system engineers] can also get a spiff," Hayes said. "[They] never get bonuses. This rewards them for their extra work."