NetApp has dropped Avnet and Lan 1 from its distributor ranks in favour of 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 months ago, but 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 general 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 been 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 will 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 staff 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 is offering 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 would also work with the vendor to provide certifications and training through its Red Education 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.
SAN Systems will join a growing list of distributors looking to carve a name for themselves in the increasingly entwined storage, networking and security space. Others pursuing these markets include Avnet and LAN Systems. While agreeing there wasn't enough room for everyone, Frew was unfazed by tougher market conditions.
"We are trying to move tier-two resellers into storage and increase the market for NetApp and for us," he said. "Resellers that haven't considered going into storage before can go in with the backing of our services and engineering teams. The other players out there are just sales managers with stock."