Storage Startup Compellent Plans 100 Percent Channel Play

Compellent Technologies, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based company founded by the same group who founded storage vendor XIOtech, plans to unveil a SAN appliance for data backup and recovery with enterprise-class functionality but priced for small and midsize enterprises, said Phil Soran, president and CEO.

The appliance is in beta testing now and is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2004, Soran said.

The most unusual feature of Compellent's offering is the fact that the company plans to have its indirect channel fully set up before it ships its first product, said Soran.

Compellent already has a customer council of about 55 end-user customers which meets every six weeks to discuss the product's features, said Soran. These customers were all brought in by solution providers who have already signed on with the company. "So we get feedback not only on our hardware and software, but [also] on our channel and services," he said.

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Compellent will not have a direct sales force, said Gary Orenstein, vice president of marketing. Plans call for partners to be limited by geography in order to control distribution, he said.

The company also will not offer a professional services that would compete with its partners, but instead will offer solution providers the opportunity to provide services around networked storage, including backup, recovery, data life-cycle management, and compliance, Orenstein said.

The actual solutions will be customized by solution providers, said Orenstein. "Customers can't shop the solution around because the solution is unique to the channel partner," he said.