EMC simplifies storage offerings for a mid-market play

Storage vendor EMC released a host of updated offerings this week, including a number of products targeted at the SMB space, and revamped its Velocity partner program to help the channel take the new offerings to market.

In addition to a number of new enterprise-class offerings, in the mid-market specifically EMC unveiled the Celerra NS20 and NS40 multi-protocol storage systems. It also launched an entry-level Rainfinity appliance for file archiving.

Barbara Robidoux, vice-president, storage product marketing with EMC, said the common themes across all the new product releases revolve around energy efficiency, information security, investment protection and easy, non-disruptive upgrades.

The NS20 is designed as an affordable entry-level device and is multi-protocol, supporting NAS and SAN environments using iSCSI or Fibre Channel connectivity. It also supports the new 750GB SATA II disk drives, which the vendor claims can reduce power consumption by up to 33 per cent.

“It’s bringing our existing best in class IP capabilities for NAS and iSCSI together with our best in class Fibre Channel capabilities, and putting it all in one box to address customer and partner requirements,” said Robidoux. “It gives them the flexibility to deploy it the way they want.”

With EMC’s new Celerra Startup Assistant software Robidoux said partners can take users from power-up to production in just 15 minutes. She added the new wizard is part of an across the board push to improve ease of use from instillation to management, a key consideration in the SMB space in particular.

On the Rainfinity front, Robidoux said EMC’s enterprise-class offering in this space has been successful, and the new Rainfinity File Management Appliance will take some of that capability to provide an affordable entry-point to implement policy-based file management, as well as provide an easy upgrade path to the full enterprise appliance.

“From our smaller customers we’ve had a lot of demand for something more affordable to get them into file management,” said Robidoux.

Recognizing that selling to the SMB space is challenging, Robidoux said EMC has also tested and developed reference architectures that can be used by partners, providing tested solution blueprints to help them configure EMC products in different environments.

The vendor is also moving to offer more services opportunities to partners through changes to its Velocity partner program, including a simplification of its Velocity Authorized Services Network (ASN) program.

The ASN will now consist of tiers, ASN Implement and ASN Support. As well, in addition to EMC’s Proven Professional certification designation the company is introducing a new ASN certification level, ASN Associate, utilizing e-learning to enable partners to perform Clarrion CX-3 implementations in Windows environments.

Warren Shiau, lead IT analyst with The Strategic Counsel in Toronto, said the common themes in EMC’s announcements around energy efficiency, ease of use and security all speak well to major user concerns today. He added the focus on moving into the mid-market bodes well for EMC’s channel partners.

“As EMC and the other storage vendors concentrate on ease of use the solutions become more and more suited toward smaller scale companies, which is better for the channel,” said Shiau. “The more and more it goes into the mid-market the more of a channel opportunity it becomes.”

He points to the Celerra wizards that ease instillations and in particular the new entry-level Rainfinity appliance, which pulls out some of the functionalities of the enterprise appliance for a mid-market customer and provides an easy upgrade path.

“The more you parse out these big solutions into smaller modules that are more targeted at specific needs the easier it is for a mid-market company to buy into this stuff, and the more suitable it is for a channel partner to help with the implementation or to sell it,” said Shiau.

Comment: cdnedit@itbusiness.ca

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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