Several broad-based storage vendors are looking to push the virtualisation concept into the mid-market, an area where the channel has traditionally held the vital customer relationships.
"Companies with 250-odd employees have started deploying virtualisation," IBM storage executive, Francois Vazille said. "We are relying on our channel partners to promote the technology in the medium sized business space. For resellers, virtualisation can be a key differentiator."
But while there are opportunities, entry into the market is far from easy. The storage channel is made up of specialist providers who have a couple of decades head start in storage networking skills.
Enstor's Semple said too many resellers entered the market tied to one particular vendor, and found it difficult to win over customers due to their lack of focus or vendor neutrality. Channel players would also need to consider the complexity and skill levels required to pull off a project.
"There is not a good appreciation out there of the time, effort and money it takes to deploy this technology," Semple said. "The results are great, but you have to expect to have some pain along with it."
"I have seen a lot of cases where companies have spent seven figure sums on an infrastructure refresh, but it's had zero impact on profit and loss," agreed Peach.
"Virtualisation is not the solution unto itself, it is only an enabler," Sun's Kieran said. "Too many people are focused on the technology and not what they are trying to achieve or address."