Quantum makes Commander decision

Quantum makes Commander decision

Storage vendor, Quantum, has signed ASX-listed IT service provider, Commander, as a premiere value added reseller (VAR) to increase sales of its disk-to-disk products.

Quantum has high hopes for its disk-to-disk product business (branded its Enhanced Data Protection business), particularly the DX30 product.

Backing up to disk (rather than tape) is becoming a common practice, but so far the trend has been capitalised on by competitors such as EMC and Hitachi Data Systems.

Regional director for Quantum in the APAC region, Simon Harvey, said that disk-to-disk back-up was the “high-touch” end of the market and really required a VAR to educate the market.

Harvey said Quantum’s existing Premiere VAR, SecureData Group, had shown little interest in the product line. “Their core competency is managed storage services,” he said.

Harvey said that most big disk systems were $200,000-plus, based on proprietary software and required a lot of services. In contrast, the DX30 was a plug-and play system that cost less than $100,000.

To the storage management software of Veritas and Legato, the DX30 appears to be another tape drive, so no software integration is necessary.

For these reasons, the DX30 is a product-sale and more suited to a business such as Commander than a services play like SecureData.

SecureData would continue to sell Quantum’s enterprise level tape libraries, Harvey said.

National vendor relationship manager at Commander, Geoff Michael, said the deal gave Commander indefinite exclusivity on sales of the DX30 product, providing the reseller continued to perform.

Michael said that Commander’s data business, bolstered by the acquisitions of hardware resellers such as Centari Systems and Evolution IT, now employed more than 200 staff and turned over $150 million a year.

Michael expected strong growth in disk-to-disk back-up in the next 12 months.

“The major factors in disk backup have always been the speed and the reliability of the back-up,” he said. “This product improves on both of these factors dramatically.”

While Quantum is adding an additional Premiere VAR, it has been quietly rationalising its distribution channel for its volume products (such as the autoloader range).

Quantum has gradually ended its relationships with the likes of Lan 1, Optistor and Ingram Micro and is going forward with two key distributors (Express Data and ACA Pacific).

OEM business key to company’s success

While Quantum has been sharpening its distribution and “premiere VAR” channels, its main driver for building revenues is its OEM channel, regional director for Quantum in the APAC region, Simon Harvey (pictured), said.

Five years ago, about 60 per cent of Quantum’s business was sold through OEM deals. However, in recent years the vendor had “lost focus” on its OEM business. It was now looking to build those relationships again — winning back the OEM business of Hewlett Packard, Sun Microsystems, IBM and Dell in the last two quarters.

Quantum’s OEM business is now making up about 40 per cent of its sales.

Harvey said the figure was steadily growing.

With these relationships in place, Quantum has appointed Simon Bills as regional manager for OEM support, to build on these relationships at a regional level.

Harvey said Quantum’s OEM business was of strategic importance as 85 per cent of the sales of large tape libraries such as those manufactured by Quantum were sold alongside a server.

“It’s a win for Quantum regardless of whether it says Quantum on the tape library or the name of our OEM partner,” he said. “We can increase sales in any part of our channel but it is the OEM business which will see us steal market share from our competitors.”

Harvey said Quantum now had a very clinical target market for each segment of its distribution channel.

“I could sign 1000 resellers but they would be hard to manage, and won’t do the job as well,” he said. “Three years ago we only sold direct here – but we have looked at the market, taken our time, made some mistakes, and now have the best distribution strategy of any back-up or storage vendor.”

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