WD gets down to business with new NAS solutions

NEW YORK  – Hard drive vendor WD (Western Digital) has ramped up its portfolio of network attached storage (NAS) solutions aimed at small business.

The company, based in Irvine, Calif., has won most of its market share in the consumer segment but is looking to broaden its base by releasing four new products targeted at prosumers, creative professionals and small businesses predominantly sold through channel partners. The four products are branded My Cloud Expert Series and My Cloud Business Series. The new product lines start in price at $249.99 for a diskless unit and go up to $1,449.99 for 24 TB My Cloud EX4100 NAS.

According to Scott Vouri, vice president of consumer marketing for WD, the small business sector is a new category for WD and a market the company always wanted to open up to, but did not have a compelling solution for small businesses until now.

Vouri said that WD polled customers and asked about content generation, workflow strategies, and creative professionals about file sizes and handling 4K imaging, home streaming, media servers.

On the business side, WD inquired about bandwidth and the ability to centralize content and improving collaboration.

“On the business side it’s about security, centralization and collaboration. Small businesses want to quickly hook up and always be on the network using a centralized file servers and back up that’s easy,” he said.

Another factor is the ability to add more memory and expand the storage capacity to be able to access the entire network. The four new products from WD were built to address this, Vouri added.

The My Cloud Business Series includes My Cloud DL2100 (two-bay) and My Cloud DL4100 (four-bay) NAS systems featuring Intel Atom dual-core processors with up to 24 TB2 of storage capacity running the Linux-based WD My Cloud operating software. The Expert Series will be powered by a dual-core Marvell ARMADA processor.

Vouri said the My Cloud OS from WD provides remote access, up load and sharing capabilities, ISCSI active directory support, embedded encryption and a SQL client. It can help a small business expand to capacity on each bay as needed to accommodate new employees for example or new apps.

WD also took the approach of working up its product line from the end user on up to the small business market. Steve Smith, a WD senior product marketing manager, told CDN that a lot of vendors come to small businesses by working their products down and possibly stripping out some of key functionality.

“We took the approach of being a consumer vendor who is developing up to the small business for their unique needs. With My Cloud, the SMB market wants ease of use and key features to improve performance with memory and the ability to work with 3rd party apps for business,” Smith said.

Smith added that back up apps such as WD SmartWare Pro for PC users and Apple‘s Time Machine for Mac users will come with free licenses for 25 users will help small businesses centralize their back up, while pushing out to different devices with encryption. WD’s My Cloud Business Series can also backup themselves, either to another My Cloud in a different location or to cloud services such as Amazon S3 and ElephantDrive. Users can also use the one-touch USB 3.0 copy button to automatically copy data from an external USB storage device onto the NAS.

WD is supporting these new releases by boosting its channel program and strategy. Vouri told CDN that 30 per cent of WD’s sales are through VARs. The company wants to improve those figures and have developed a comprehensive program for VARs and distributors around these new NAS solutions. The new channel program will include competitive margins, rebates, incentives and MDF funds. There will be a WD University for online training tutorials.

Vouri said that part of the plan is to increase the number of channel partners for WD in Canada, the U.S. and other major countries in the European Union. “A major focus for us this year is on growing the base of channel partners,” he said.

WD plans to target solution providers along with direct market resellers who have a focus on small business or deal with smaller groups inside larger enterprises as their ideal recruitment candidates, Smith said.

WD's My Cloud Expert Series EX4100 NAS
WD’s My Cloud Expert Series EX4100 NAS

WD has partnered with Ingram Micro, D&H Distributing and Synnex for distribution.

Also part of WD’s channel strategy is a centralized pricing program specific to NAS. Smith said resellers can sign up and get competitive margins of up to 15 per cent. The company also has a My WD Partner Portal which can help them earn cash back every quarter along with obtaining evaluation units for testing. There is also marketing collateral, a rewards program and MDF funds inside the portal.

Smith added that the timing of these new products is idea considering that the cloud has hit the mainstream with consumers and small businesses.

“It’s one of the reasons why WD is using the term ‘My Cloud’ and for a lot of people this naming convention resonates with them,” Smith said.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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