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Violin Memory introduces its first channel program

Channel StrategyInfrastructureViolin Memory

Storage vendor Violin Memory is making its its next move in breaking into the Tier 1 and Tier 2 marketspace: it’s introducing its very first channel program.

The Santa Clara, CA-based company hopes that this coupled with the recent launch of new converged hardware and software storage solutions, which feature its proprietary flash storage, will position the company as a bigger player in the storage space.

“We were a Tier 0 storage niche player,” said Jeff Nollette, worldwide vice president of channels sales at Violin Memory, referring to the company’s history. “Playing at the tip of that pyramid is not exactly where most partners are.  We have a product now that is much more conducive to data centre opportunities in the Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas. There’s a lot of green field out there.”

Violin Memory Channel Partner program tiers

Violin Memory Channel Partner program tiers

With a channel program, the company hopes to expand its customer base, which currently hovers between 350 to 400, Nollette said.

According to the company, it would feature extensive training and support programs, automated tools, three tiers – silver, gold and platinum, and margins that approach the 25 to 30 point range, although Nollette stopped short of giving a firm number.

“The VDM engagement is a big piece of what you get as a Gold partner, because now you’re actually on the radar of our sales reps and begin to proactively work with those guys to build miniature plans in the field,” said Nollette.

In terms of the platinum tier, “we load up a little bit more on the benefits side with special incentives and programs.  We’ve got ability and budget to do special sales contests, we’re considering a stretch-volume rebate for certain partners, and preferred lead distribution,” said Nolette.  “That’s where most of our volume will be coming from, we anticipate.”

Potential partners will be selling Violin Memory’s All Flash Platform, which include the 7300 and 7700, two all-flash arrays designed to replace traditional storage for active data, as well as the Concerto OS 7, and Symphony 3 software solutions.

According to the company, direct sales will still get compensated for any business that goes through the channel.

“It’s a big piece of the strategy to make sure that we’re recruiting the right partners to be able to take those leads from us, and through a structured lead management cycle, follow up on them,” Violin said. “It’s a win-win as the channel is a natural extension of the Violin sales force.”