Hitachi looks to channel for SMB push

Hitachi looks to channel for SMB push

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is planning a renewed channel push aimed primarily at the SMB market, according to newly appointed managing director of A/NZ, Mark Kay.

An increased focus on the channel during the past year has seen indirect sales contributing 20 per cent of the vendor's local revenues. Kay predicted that number would reach a target of 50 per cent within 18 months.

To support this SMB channel growth HDS would triple its indirect-facing employees, Kay said, with additional pre-sales and technical staff.

"We are anticipating a dramatic expansion in our channel distribution - it has already started," he said. "Our channel business is underpinned by the SME space."

Significant SME and enterprise product announcements would follow shortly, he said.

"A natural play for us going forward in the next year would be to deliver mid-range solutions," he said. "That will drive different relationships that we will need to have in place," he said.

This would include VARs specialising in vertical solutions and others with an ability to integrate Hitachi technology with complementary software.

Market drivers in the SME space included strong demand for email mailbox solutions and backup recovery. Governance issues such as disaster recovery and business continuity planning - traditionally enterprise level concerns - were now being recognised in the SME space, Kay said.

For its enterprise level products, including its newly announced NAS solution, growth would be primarily achieved through platinum partners Alphawest, Volante and Acer. These relationships would be key to driving HDS into the NAS area, he said.

"It's not so much about shifting boxes but more about how they integrate Hitachi technology into their core offerings," Kay said.

HDS claims pushing its 9500 SAN range to the SMB market, in conjunction with the new enterprise NAS Blade range, gives it an integrated solution across the entire storage market.

Control of both technologies via a single software console would be an important product feature for HDS, he said.

"We are coming into the NAS market as one of the later players," he said. "Our sole intention is to take market share [from other vendors]."

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