Despite having absolutely no involvement with the channel until nine months ago, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is aggressively targeting enterprise resellers to rapidly grow its storage area network (SAN) solutions business.
"We have traditionally sold our
enterprise solutions direct to a very small number of customers," said Graeme Gleave, director of channels for HDS. "As we expanded globally, we realised our organic growth was insufficient and that we had to invest in channel partners.
"We are now looking at 30 per cent of our storage revenues coming through channels. If you take away services revenues, where we are very strong in storage, that percentage would be a lot higher."
Traditional direct selling vendors such as HDS are interested in the intimatecustomer and market knowledge that resellers have, but Gleave said it is unique for such high-end hardware to be distributed through channels.
"At the 100 per cent non-stop 24 x 7 true enterprise-level end of the storage market, we are the only organisation that delivers product through channels," he said. "With our 7700 product there is no single point of failure - if it is configured correctly and situated correctly, we offer a million dollar guarantee against it failing.
"We are after a value-based channel and after that volume will come. We are not after saturation at this stage from a channel point of view.
"We are after a small number of partners who can go out and demonstrate the dollars and cents value there is for organisations that want to invest in rationalising their storage. After-all, their data is one of their most important assets."
Aside from SANs, there are other areas where HDS is developing channel partnerships including ERP and data centre solutions as well as rapid application development. However, Gleave agreed with the wave of optimism being gener-ated by vendors and analysts about channel opportunities in storage solutions.
"[Analyst] IDC is saying there will be 50 per cent compound growth per annum," he said. "In the Internet age everybody is starting to recognise they need to get smart about the richness of their data and to start looking for other revenue opportunities from that data."
According to Gleave, this means there is rationalisation and server consolidation taking place within a lot of organisations at the moment designed to make all of that data available all of the time.