Tech Data, EMC Form Distribution Alliance

The broadline distribution agreement will make EMC's Clariion CX300 and NetWin 200 systems available to Tech Data resellers. In addition, Tech Data will also supply EMC's Visual SRM and VisualSAN software for storage resource management. The product lines will be offered through Tech Data's Enterprise Specialized Business Unit, and the distributor will also add EMC's Clariion systems to its Enterprise Solution Center at the company's headquarters in Clearwater, Fla.

Tech Data had spent several months negotiating and then finalizing the agreement with EMC. Several EMC officials were at the TechSelect event to promote the new alliance, including John Koury, vice president of channel marketing at EMC. Koury said the alliance is aimed at building up EMC's sales in the small and midsize business market; the distributor's TechSelect organization is an exclusive group of more than 300 SMB-focused solution providers.

"A lot of you are wondering why we're here," Koury said during a general session panel at the event. "We think this is the right opportunity for us and that Tech Data is the right distributor for us."

Koury fielded questions from the audience about what he referred to as "the 'D' word" --- Dell. EMC has had a successful partnership with the PC giant that also centers on Clariion systems. Koury acknowledged there will be channel conflict with Dell, but stressed that EMC has made a number of efforts, including its Velocity Partner Program and rules of engagement, to help minimize the conflict.

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Of the more than 300 TechSelect members, however, just 10 are authorized EMC partners. Koury told VARBusiness that EMC will concentrate on recruiting more SMB solution providers within Tech Data, but added that the storage company, which has historically been enterprise-focused, will be careful not to over-distribute its products and saturate the market. "The worst thing that can happen is to have four VARs sitting at a table in Columbus, Ohio, doing a reverse auction with a customer that's killing the margins," Koury said.

That said, EMC plans to aggressively promote its Clariion products to Tech Data resellers and specifically look for VARs in underserved geographic regions. In addition, Koury said that the Tech Data alliance will see a low double-digit percentage of his channel marketing budget this year.

"We think this is beginning of a beautiful friendship," Koury said. "We're intend to be the best partner in the storage market."