3 min read

NEC Canada introduces fault-tolerant solutions to SMBs

Company has signed two distributors and released a channel program for the Canadian market

Well known for its display solutions, NEC has entered the Canadian market with a series of hardware and software designed for business continuity and disaster recovery tailored for small and mid-sized companies.

Solutions Platform Group, a new division of NEC America, is responsible for the new products, which include servers (general purpose servers, fault tolerant servers and higher-end Itanium servers), storage (disk arrays that typically work in SAN environments) and software (application protection and high availability disaster recovery software).

Each can be purchased separately or bundled into specific configurations, said John Perring, a contractor for the Solutions Platform Group.

“They’re all part of a strategic push to supply the Canadian market with high availability and disaster recovery solutions,” he said. “And in the case of the Itanium product, that works more in line with server consolidation environments. It’s also very good at doing the number crunching that’s required in large database environments.”

On the hardware side, NEC is introducing fault- tolerant servers that include two motherboards, two CPUs and multiple power supplies, according to Perring. “Everything is redundant so in the event of a failure of any of these components, the server stays up and keeps running.”

“This is great for businesses that can’t afford for their applications to be down,” he added. “This is literally throwing the box in, putting applications on there and getting the five nines (99.999 per cent) in availability for mission-critical applications.”

For the software component of the new lineup, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is offering the ExpressCluster WAN. This solution, said Perring, is hardware agnostic so businesses don’t necessarily have to run it on NEC equipment.

“Users get two licenses, one for the onsite server and the other would be offsite,” he added. “This software will link up a server at your site to an offsite server and in the event of disaster to the building, the application gets transferred to the offsite server while everyone’s still up and running.”

The ExpressCluster WAN also provides synchronous data mirroring, explained Perring, guaranteeing data integrity between local and remote sites. In addition, “NEC is capable of supporting up to 200 miles of geographical distance with dedicated T1 line interconnect.”

So far NEC has secured distribution through Avnet Solutions and Team One, a U.S.-based distributor that has distribution rights in Canada.

“We have a 100 per cent channel sales model,” said Perring. The company is actively seeking resellers that understand the importance of providing the availability of mission critical applications – which can be anything from e-mail servers to a database. “Databases and e-mail servers need to be up 24/7, 365 days. These solutions satisfy any reseller that wants to provide that kind of service to enable customers to be up 24/7,” he said.

Remaining tight -lipped about margins, Perring said “they are very good. We invite the resellers to call up distributors to find out how good. The margins are very competitive.”

In conjunction with the new product announcement, NEC has also created an Express Partner Program for resellers interested in becoming an authorized Solutions Platform Group partner. “The program offers such things as co-op dollars, training and marketing assistance,” he said.

Michelle Warren, an analyst at Evans Research Corp., believes there is a big market for organizations to help SMBs recover data. “Looking at disaster recovery, what we do know is that not a lot of small businesses actually back up their information,” she said. “So targeting that market is a winning solution for organizations (like NEC) because it’s so robust.”

Warren added that this technology opens the door for the channel to provide extra services on top of the hardware sale. “Although the bulk of small business budgets are spent on hardware, services are a high revenue growth area for resellers. It’s a neat combination. It gives resellers an advantage in this market.”

She added that NEC garnered a lot of popularity in the market roughly 10 years ago when it launched a line of high-end computers, and “when they come into the SMB space with products small businesses need at price points they are willing to pay, even though NEC is more well-known for its displays, they still have that heritage. But they’re going to have to really rely on partners.”