Enterprise Storage: A Close Race

After a stiff competition, EMC retained its #1 position pipping HP Storage to the second spot; increasing cloud dynamics could change the dynamics of this category in the coming years

EMC retains its position as the most popular storage vendor amongst the channel partners, though it had a stiff competition from HP Storage. While HP was overall ahead of EMC only on the commercial terms, it scored over EMC on many individual parameters. But it was on the critical and most relevant parameters for SIs and channel partners that EMC crucially moved ahead.

Most channel partners vouched for EMC especially for its technical expertise in resolving partner queries, geographical reach and its fast turnaround time. EMC’s biggest shortfall earlier used to be its rigid commercial terms of trading with its partners when it came to credit policies and settlement of back-end schemes and incentives. The tables though seem to have now turned in favour of EMC. Furthermore, EMC was earlier also lagging in the channel relationship management front where too it seems to have undergone a course correction with its dedicated personnel now consistently honouring commitments made to partners.

The shift has occurred primarily on account of its formation of dedicated and effective teams which are not just limited in liaisoning with the channel but are extending their help in consulting partners over plausible solutions too for its clients. Training and certification and other enablement programs too have helped EMC fall in line with the channel sentiments. The SIs also swear by the richness of online resources offered by EMC – –most are particularly enamored of its partner portal and its interactive site for resolving queries as well as prompt online responses.

Even as EMC continues to rule the charts, HP Storage emerges a close second especially on the back of the commercial terms measures where it garnered the maximum scores. Respondents to the survey voted in favor of HP Storage over competition on all commercial support parameters including transparency in commercial terms and policies, flexibility in commercial terms as well as judicious settlement of back-end incentives and schemes. HP also scored high on the promptness with which its schemes and incentive programs are communicated to partners and most importantly on the profit margins it offers to partners.

A surprising result was the emergence of Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) as the third most popular storage vendor amongst the channel fraternity especially on the basis of its marketing, after sales support and commercial terms scores. Even NetApp pipped IBM to the #4 slot with its preference amongst a section of partners on the product quality and online support fronts. IBM’s surprising demotion (it was #1 two years back) might have had to do with the sell-off of the storage arm to Lenovo and the confusion created thereof.

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