Distribution Central leaps into storage with NetApp

Distribution Central leaps into storage with NetApp

NetApp cuts distribution ties with Avnet and Lan 1 in favour of a sole partnership with SAN Systems

NetApp has dropped Avnet and Lan 1 from its distributor ranks after just over a year and inked a sole agreement with Distribution Central's new storage division, SAN Systems.

NetApp managing director, Peter O'Connor, was reluctant to talk about its Avnet relationship but singled out SAN Systems' dedicated team as a differentiator.

"We launched our distribution model with Avnet 12 month ago, but we feel there are holes in our distribution strategy which Distribution Central nicely fills," he said. "We've adopted a single distribution model because SAN Systems can offer more services to our customers. The culture of both of our companies is similar and it's a good marriage.

"We want to be a relevant piece of business to Distribution Central and SAN Systems - otherwise we're just a small fish with multiple distributors."

Avnet and Lan 1 will cease providing NetApp product in January. Avnet country manager, Gavin Lawless, was disappointed by the decision and said it had happened suddenly. Avnet also distributes storage products from CommVault, HP and IBM.

"We have been fairly aggressive in our desire to grow our storage business and this doesn't change our strategy," he said. "We have to take solutions to market, and if we can't get those solutions with one vendor, then clearly we need to find a replacement.

"We have been in active in talking to vendors ... but this doesn't mean we will jump off our chairs and go look for more vendors to work with."

Lawless declined to specify how much of its revenue was coming from the NetApp relationship, but claimed it had been a successful one. NetApp and its StoreVault SMB subsidiary will join Acronis in the SAN Systems stable.

Distribution Central marketing director, Nick Verykios, said the new division would work with its Firewall Systems and NetWorld Systems businesses and share a common back-end but maintain specialist storage skills.

Verykios said it was necessary for resellers to understand the correlation between security, networking and storage technologies in order to address a customer's business needs.

The distributor has brought on five staff to man the storage division and is looking for three more. Former Cisco and HP staffer, Rick Hollingsworth, is in charge of vendor relationships, while Richard Denyer will focus on services.

SAN Systems will offer a range of value-added services and support to resellers, including StoreProof installation services, SafetyNet advanced hardware replacement, StoreDrill reseller support and StoreStarter marketing and business development. Verykios said it will also work with the vendor to provide certifications and training through its Red Education training business unit.

Distribution Central managing director, Scott Frew, flagged plans to bring on complementary vendors once the SAN Systems launch was bedded down. He highlighted tape technologies as one area of opportunity.

"When we launched NetWorld Systems we kicked off with six vendors so we had the right technology coverage," Verykios said. With NetApp, the distributor covered about 60 per cent of storage needs, Frew said.

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