Components and peripherals distributor Westan has launched a new division to help resellers provide storage services to the SME market.
The Westan Storage Division will provide a range of infrastructure, software and services. But the division also brings a fresh attitude to the storage sector -- helping end users get rid of old, useless information rather than simply adding another drive to the network. Westan will act in a consultative role to help resellers educate their customers to understand their storage requirements.
"One thing that has been missing in storage is the knowledge base to help bridge the understanding gap in end-user sites," said Philip Jackson, division manager for WSD. "Very few organisations put together a storage policy that represents their business needs because there is this big disconnect between the business managers and the IT managers. We need to put in services aimed at end users to help understand how they use their storage technology."
Jackson has been in the storage game for more than 20 years. As a distributor, he brought Cheyenne Software into the Australian market in 1983. The product was eventually bought by Computer Associates.
Westan has around 5,000 channel partners and over the next few months the distributor will identify those with a storage focus, providing further education as well as distributing the products for sale.
The division plans to expand its product offerings and is currently in talks with storage vendors in the NAS, SAN, tape library and automatic backup sectors.
"We are starting to look at products that are more than standalone items," Jackson said. "To do this successfully, you have to help your channel partners understand the technology."
Westan will offer services that will help resellers educate their customers to get rid of that excess storage baggage.
"These days it's a matter of "have disk, will fill". But for every one dollar spent on storage infrastructure, it costs seven times that to manage it," Jackson said. "We should be going through and taking out the rubbish, reducing data rather than adding disks. It's a clinical approach that can be a bit of a hard sell because the mindset of most storage vendors is sales for the next three to six months. This is a longer-term process and we really need to educate the user at the end of the chain."
The aims of the Westan Storage Division are to develop education models to help partners understand opportunities and improve margins; to educate the end-user market on how to save money through managing their storage environment; to encourage communication between business managers and IT staff to create simple storage policies; and to make the channel aware of the challenges of duplicate, redundant and old data.