The storage giant introduced the VNXe product family, which it describes as “EMC – now available in small” and targets at the growing market for dedicated storage in the small business market. And with that introduction comes several new tiers of channel partners in a move that will see the company add a massive number of distribution-served partners to its channel ranks.
Pat Gelsinger, president and COO of the company’s information infrastructure products, introduced the VNXe family as part of the company’s Record Breakers event here Tuesday, calling “simple, efficient and affordable” storage that’s designed with the SMB in mind.
Gelsinger said the new products can be managed through the company’s Unisphere management console, with a full Exchange installation being distilled won to less than ten clicks, and being based on questions easily answered by the SMB technology specialist, like “how many mailboxes do you want?”
The VNXe family starts at $9,499 (U.S.), and at that price point, Gelsinger said it’s able to offer “rich margins” for both channel partners and distributors. By comparison, Gelsinger said current entry points for competitors range from $10,485 (U.S.) for Dell to $12,657 for HP.
To accompany the hardware, the company introduced three software bundles that combine some of the most popular and relevant features from EMC’s lineup of 28 enterprise storage applications.
The company joked that the product, designed to be administered by “IT generalists,” is “so simple a 5th grader could install and support it, and then proceeded to support that claim by producing a 5th grader (actually, CMO Jeremy Burton’s 4th-grader son) to show off managing the products via a dedicated iPad app. “Old men use computers – kids use iPads,” he smirked.
Building a channel base
The launch will be supported by a tier of partners largely new to EMC. As a result of the launch and the product’s general applicability to a wide swath of the SMB market, Gelsinger said the company would “significantly expand” its partnership with distributors Ingram Micro, Synnex and Tech Data, looking to add “thousands of partners” in a new tier of its Velocity Partner Program that “lets partners get up and running with just three hours of training.”
Doug Wood, vice president of integrated systems and components at EMC, said EMC started building its channel for these new products with changes to the EMC Velocity partner program last October that introduced new Affiliate and Affiliate Elite tiers of partners. But for this launch, it’s going a step further an adding an Associate level for partners just getting going with the storage giant.
“We need to be talking about thousands of tier-two partners moving through distribution,” Wood said, “More than half of the overall storage market is going to be under $75,000 (U.S.), and that’s not going into the low-end enterprise, that’s going into the midmarket and SMB.”
In this video, Wood explains the company’s plans for building a channel around VNXe and how it’s seeking to make it profitable for solution providers.
The products start shipping towards the end of the current quarter, and between now and then, Wood said the company and its distributors will be working to sign up the thousands of solution providers EMC needs to support the VNXe push into the marketplace. It also plans to roll out a variety of supports in terms of demand generation and lead generation, with Gelsinger promising $20 million (U.S.) in go-to-market investment with the channel.
It’s a market that’s ripe for the picking, with Wood noting that EMC holds less than 10 per cent share below the $25,000 mark, and that the market leader in the space is “other” with nearly a quarter of all the business.
“That market is wide open and ready for growth – it’s a big market that’s growing very fast without strong incumbency. We have set aggressive market share growth numbers,” he said.
To support the launch and the development of that channel, Wood said the company is doing a “Rolling Thunder” tour introducing the technology to markets around the world, as well as big-bang events here in New York and Singapore today, and Wednesday in London.
A big part of the message to partners that as well as “fair margins in a competitive market,” partners have the opportunity to build their own services into the equation and offer an annuity model for recurring revenues.