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Dell iSCSI buy validates technology

Microscope contributor

by Simon Quicke

ISCSI vendors have seized on Dell’s purchase of Equalogic as a sign that the technology is now validated.

Leonard Iventosch, vice-president of worldwide channel sales at NetApp, told MicroScope the company was already calling on its resellers to exploit the Dell purchase to encourage customers to invest in its storage technology.

"ISCSI is an up-and-coming technology and I like the idea this validates the technology and shows it a market on the move. It is good for NetApp and a logical thing for our sales teams and partners to use to promote iSCSI," he said.

Analyst predictions have been up and down on iSCSI with far too much optimism at the start of the century but earlier this year IDC reported that iSCSI storage revenue grew by 68.6 percent during the first quarter in 2006 and is expected to account for about 25 per cent of storage revenues in 2011.

The validation of the technology comes as NetApp shuffles its partner programme to try to provide better support and opportunities for its resellers. There is a greater emphasis on training, accreditation and customer service.

"It is very important to have products that will work for their success and are easy to install," added Iventosch. "The global priority is to enable partners to deliver professional service."

On his tour of the UK, which included meeting partners and customers, Iventosch also outlined a theme that echoes approaches being taken by other vendors in the IT sector, to increase the level of partnership between resellers.

"We want to accelerate collaboration, continue to bring new accounts to channel partners and move some of our direct accounts over to the channel," he said.

In finding those new opportunities, NetApp is putting more emphasis into its relationship with IBM to bolster activity in vertical markets. But at the same time the storage specialist is talking up its ambition to increase its share of the mid-size enterprise market.

"The number one challenge for NetApp is to increase the amount of coverage given to partners in terms of the training programme, lead generation and introducing resellers into our accounts. There is a lot of nuts and bolts you have to do to be able to deliver a successful programme," he said.

One of the fears expressed in the IT industry is a deepening skills crisis but Iventosch said the company recognised it had a responsibility to keep technical expertise high across its partner base but added that there was no signs of problems being caused by a lack of skills in the storage channel.

"It is right to be mindful as you grow and if you want to succeed you will need people able to move into additional areas," he said.


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