Storage Startups Look To Channel For Help

At least three of those companies are unveiling new products and channel programs this week.

Sepaton is unveiling its first product, the S2100 virtual tape library system. The S2100 is an appliance that emulates almost every type of tape format to virtualize tape backups to hard disk, said Mike Worhach, president and CEO of the Southborough, Mass., company.

Sepaton, which is "no tapes" spelled backwards, is implementing a deal-registration program that gives partners an additional 30 percent discount, giving them margins of 20 percent to 40 percent on the product, Worhach said. The company has signed up 12 solution providers already in the Northeast, and is now turning its attention to the Midwest, he said.

John Zammett, president of Huntington, N.Y.-based HorizonTek, which was

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one of the first solution providers to sign with Sepaton, said the vendor has a first-class vice president of channels in Rich Dixon, formerly of Quantum/ATL. "What lures me to a new product is oftentimes the person and the program," Zammett said. "Rich is not out signing everyone up. He said he will support us."

The fact that Sepaton is channel-only is an attractive reason to partner, Zammett said. "I've learned [the hard way] with other vendors like StorageTek and Hitachi Data Systems how important that is to us," he said.

Also rolling out its first product is ONStor. The vendor is shipping its first product, a diskless NAS appliance that connects to hard drives on SAN arrays from multiple vendors. It already has signed on six IBM solution providers, said Peter Tarrant, vice president of marketing at the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company. "As a young company, we decided to focus on the channel," he said. "We have already signed up some of IBM's top channel partners because they don't have an enterprise SAN filer [offering], but instead compete against Network Appliance."

Finally, Maranti Networks introduced its channel program and its first products, aimed at high-availability, heterogeneous SANs, said Rick Walsworth, director of product management at the San Jose, Calif.-based company.

Maranti's hardware consists of 16-port and 128-port switches with director-class failover capabilities and hot-plug components. The software includes services such as virtualization, replication, mirroring and snapshots.

The company has already signed up three channel partners and is looking for more, Walsworth said. "We plan to implement our technology through partners," he said. "We don't plan to have a direct sales force."