NetApp wants to ease business for the channel

In an effort to make it easier for its partners to do business with, NetApp today announced improvements and a new addition to its FAS2000 series of products.

Today’s NetApp FAS2000 family announcements, follow other modifications and enhancements that the company made earlier this year, to better help the company’s partner community.

Todd Palmer, vice-president of Americas channel sales at NetApp, said the changes that were made this year to NetApp’s partner program and other resources were in an attempt to make it easier for partners to conduct business with NetApp.

In May, NetApp re-vamped its online field portal so that partners are now able to use the same tool that NetApp employees use. In June, the company introduced its Campaign Express tool, which is an online offering that provides partners with information and other relevant campaign materials, which can be sent to customers as is, or rebranded and then sent out.

Two months ago, NetApp also changed the name of its VIP partner program to the NetApp Partner Program to better reflect all of the partner pathways, Palmer said. This partner program is headed up by Julie Parrish, NetApp’s vice-president of worldwide channel sales. The company also recently launched a new phone-based pre-sales solution centre, where partners can get help over the phone during the pre-sales cycle.

Today’s news, which centres around the FAS2000 line of products, will make it easier for partners to price, quote, configure and sell to the MSE (mid-size enterprise) market space, he added. NetApp’s FAS2000 products allow customers to manage their data in dispersed departments or remote offices and also provide disaster recovery capabilities.

“We’ve made modifications to the FAS2000 product family and have added a new product, the FAS2040,” Palmer said. “We’ve also lowered the price on the FAS2020 by about 30 per cent.”

Bharat Badrinath, director of NAS (network attached storage) solutions at NetApp, said the addition of the FAS2040, which is now shipping, presents a unique value proposition for the channel because partners can now offer their customers a full range of products that target “every type of business need.” The FAS2040 offers users double the performance when compared to the FAS2050 device and also provides users with 30 per cent higher maximum capacity. The product is also ideal for businesses using virtualization methods, since it can handle even the most “demanding Windows consolidation and virtualization workloads.”

The FAS2020 product is ideal for the low end of the MSE market segment, where price may be an issue, he explained. The FAS2040 on the other hand, offers users better performance and expandability, which would suit the needs of the mid to high-end range of the MSE market. The FAS2040 is built using the same form factor as the FAS2020, which makes it easy to upgrade, if customers want to, Badrinath suggested.

NetApp has also reduced the number of skus associated with the FAS2020 and FAS2050 products, narrowing it down from its original over 45 configurations, to now include just 10 skus.

“We did extensive analysis and interviews with our partners to figure out which configurations and skus were moving faster than others,” Badrinath said. “We wanted to make it easier for partners to obtain (the skus) and achieve velocity in terms of moving them through the channel.”

Palmer says the FAS2000 solutions present a “huge opportunity” for partners to sell into the MSE space.

“One of the key things in this marketplace is that the solutions have to be easy to sell and competitive,” Palmer said. “That way, our partners can make good, strong and healthy margins that are in the double-digit range.”

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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