XSI plays NetApp card for high-end accounts

XSI plays NetApp card for high-end accounts

XSI Data Solutions has signed up as a storage reseller partner with Network Appliance as it looks to rub shoulders with the multinational big boys.

The deal will see XSI offering customers a range of the vendor’s network attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) solutions.

Despite being the largest Australian-owned and managed data storage company, co-founder and CEO, Max Goldsmith, said partnering with a multinational was the only way to avoid getting a bloody nose when pitching for big contracts.

“We haven’t been at the high-end of enterprise for about 10 years now but those customers want to buy from the major players,” he said. “If it comes down to EMC, Hitachi or XSI then we have no chance.”

Goldsmith said the partnership with NetApp would enable XSI to play in that space and give it competitive advantage in some areas through differentiation.

“SAN is not the best whole answer for most sites and Network Appliance offers both [SAN and NAS] for a broader solution,” he said. “They are better in Exchange 2000 or 2003 environments and seem to be stronger in anything to do with active directory.

“All the other major players have had to release NAS offerings to go with their SAN solutions.”

For NetApp, the agreement will see it trying to leverage the 18-year history of XSI in the local market.

The fact that it has 45 engineers as well as a presence in all major Australian cities was also a factor, according to NetApp A/NZ managing director, Simon Green.

“XSI is a very highly focused storage company with a long history in this space,” he said. “And they have a great network of customers they have looked after for a long time.

“Brisbane and WA are strong, up-and-coming markets — particularly WA, which is a very data intensive environment — and XSI has good people in both locations.”

While the past year had seen XSI show real growth, Goldsmith said the market remained brutal.

“We are seeing extraordinary moves from people like Dell, where they are going in and offering to beat us by 20 per cent,” he said.

“This leaves us looking for more complex environments that need more consulting and support because that is where our strength lies.

“It doesn’t help at all that we are Australian, which is a bit sad really. You would think people would work with us when things are pretty equal but the truth is that they want to go with the big guy.”

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