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NetApp to rollout SMB offerings

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DQC Bureau
New Update

With the entire industry gunning for a pie of the SMB market, Network

Appliances (NetApp) has also decided gear up for the opportunity. By June 2008,

the company will be ready with its StoreVault S500 suite of products for SMB

customers.

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Till three years ago, NetApp India was directly going to its customers. But

since it started working with the channel, it signed up with the tier-1 solution

providers (SPs) like Wipro. Now with the SMB product line, the company has

started working in tier-2 channel organizations that have storage selling as

their skill set.

Worldwide, the company is running a channel partner program called VIP, which

is divided into three levels-Platinum Elite, Platinum and Gold. With the SMB

thrust, a new category Silver, will be added to accommodate the tier-2 partners.

“We have started talking to several SPs in the metros and



A-class cities and will work with them proactively this year, to change the

perception that NetApp only has products for the enterprises. We realize that

the SMB is a significant customer vertical and we will aggressively entrench

ourselves in this arena,” said Soumitra Agarwal, Director-Marketing, NetApp

India.

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One reason why there are not too many SPs willing to invest in the storage

technologies is because of the high gestation period before a deal is signed. On

an average, storage consolidation or management deals can take around three to

18 months before finalization. Not too many partners have the bandwidth to

sustain the account for so long.

“This is why, we will work with the partners to close the deals in the SMB

space in less time period. We have a direct pre-sales team which will make joint

call with the SPs, increasing the chances of an earlier closure,” explained

Agarwal.

Data management is becoming increasingly crucial for the customers, who are

looking at storage consolidation to get better return on investment (RoI) on

their IT investments. Plus, with storage costs going down, a lot more SMB

clients were willing to invest in the technology to better manage their data.

Other players like IBM and HP had realized earlier on and rolled out

specially tailored products for the SMB customers trimming out features that

they did not need and thereby lowering its total cost.

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