EMC To VARs: Combine Storage And Security

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At the CMP XChange conference on Wednesday, a day after EMC won the top award in the annual solution provider survey following a fifth-place showing last year, Pete Koliopoulos, vice president of EMC's global channel marketing, took the stage to say the award shows just how much the vendor's channel relationship has changed, and to exhort partners to start considering storage and security as two parts of an overall customer solution.

After a string of acquisitions of market leaders such as data protection software vendor Legato, server virtualization vendor VMware, security and secure ID management vendor RSA, and enterprise content management vendor Documentum, along with several smaller point solution developers, EMC and its channel partners have an opportunity to capitalize on a $60 billion market, Koliopoulos said.

That market in 2007 includes $50 billion in storage, $4.6 billion in content management and archiving, $4.2 billion in security, and $1.2 billion in virtualization opportunities, Koliopoulos said.

Those opportunities include helping customers manage the growth of their data center and data storage infrastructures, along with managing the effectiveness of those infrastructures. "What do you do when your e-mail doesn't work," he said. "At EMC, we all walk in the halls and say, 'what do we do now.'"

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They also include creating new value, Koliopoulos said. "You can make infrastructure smarter to handle new information, decide what data needs to be handled with sub-second replication, what can be handled with nightly backups, what to archive, what to delete," he said.

The newest part of those opportunities for solution providers is to combine data protection and management with security, said Michael Ross, area vice president of Americas channel at RSA, the security division of EMC.

By integrating RSA security into customers' information infrastructure, EMC solution providers can ensure that customer data is protected no matter where it resides, Ross said.

"Before, when organizations were more centralized, the threats came from the network, and so protecting against intrusion made sense," Ross said. "But today, customers' data and people are worldwide. How many of you carry BlackBerries? It's clear that perimeter security no longer will suffice."

As a result, solution providers need to be in discussions with customers on three key topics, Ross said. They include securing their data; securing access to their data, whether it is being accessed by employees from remote locations or by customers or partners who need that data; and meeting compliance requirements.

"If you only take one thing away from this today, this is it," he said.

Ross said that VARs can use the combined resources of EMC and RSA to help customers in six different solution areas, including securing enterprise data to help preserve its confidentiality and integrity, securing employee access while allowing anytime and anywhere access to data, securing enterprise data within a firewall, securing remote access through the Internet, managing that Web access, and helping manage compliance and information security.

"This will provide new channel opportunities for services including assessment, configuration, and deployment," he said.

A number of solution providers who had not been active with EMC in the past said the combined EMC/RSA message is getting them to take a second look at the vendor.

It is a very exciting time for EMC, if what they say is indeed true, said Hope Hayes, president of Alliance Technology Group, a Hanover, Md.-based storage solution provider.

"We've signed up with them, but we were not active," Hayes said. "We need to look at them again."

Toby Poston, co-partner at Tweaks By Geeks, a Savannah, Ga.-based small business solution provider, said bringing storage and security together for small businesses is something his company needs to do.

"It's where the market is going," he said. "Everything is going paperless and digital. So security of the data needs to be addressed."

Most of Tweaks By Geeks' customers are small businesses who need to rethink how they deal with their data, Poston said. "Most of them say they have anti-virus, and think that's security," he said. "They don't think they have the budget."

Both Hayes and Poston said that winning the ARC award for network storage is another reason to take a second look at EMC.

"Looks like we'll have to talk to EMC based on the awards they won," Hayes said. "They never won before."