Years ago, I worked for EqualLogic where our approach was a simple one — to make automated storage that the midmarket could manage without specialized expertise and provide them big-enterprise-like features without the cost.
I worked specifically for the channel where I spent 6 years working for a local VAR supporting customers of all sizes and verticals. I quickly learned that customers loved the experience of a solution-minded VAR, who had gotten their hands dirty solving real-world problems. For years, they had been competing with the manufacturing reps who were only interested in their product. But customers rarely need a single product, instead they need a complete solution to help tackle technical obstacles and, also drive the business.
EqualLogic quickly recognized the winning formula for motivating channel partners was to create end-to-end solutions for mutual customers.
It Starts with a “D”
What I learned over time was that the real reason channel partners loved the EqualLogic was that it gave them what all channel partners really desire, and quite frankly need, differentiation.
At any one time, many products can solve the same problem in slightly different ways. Customers typically negotiate strictly on price knowing the technology is generally equal. But, when the VAR can confidently demonstrate that one technology is superior and market competitive, it motivates them to engage and lead in difference making.
Storage channel partners, like storage customers, especially those in enterprises, have a real reason to consider getting beyond hyperconverged systems with a real (and new) differentiator – open convergence. They need better performance and affordability for one. But moreover, they can get past scalability issues inherent in hyperconverged systems.
Plus open convergence generates the kind of buzz that naturally comes from customers that witness something that solves their problems in a simple and differentiated way.
A Quick Story
One of my channel partners, Sphere3D running the HVE platform, quickly realized the power of combining their server-platform with Datrium DVX. The HVE product line of enterprise-class servers is customized to deliver ultimate performance for various needs such VDI, high-demand graphic needs, common VSI, and platinum-class SQL performance. After seeing the ability of Datrium’s DVX Solution, they realized that, united, both HVE and Datrium produced a Blue-Ribbon solution to fit customers in all sizes and industries.
Sphere3D has gone the next step and launched pre-configured bundles with an implementation called “3-2-1,” sized and configured to meet common VDI and VSI needs. Need a 500-seat VDI? Get a pre-configured, pre-sized VDI SKU that delivers a full turn-key solution to meet the demand. Have 100 server VM’s with SQL, File Servers, and in-house applications? A pre-configured, pre-sized VSI SKU makes it easy. No thinking. Just turnkey and go. But Sphere3D is just one example.
I love the channel and seeing the excitement they experience when customers learn about a new differentiator. It’s an indication we’re doing something, well, different.
And on that note, I unapologetically invite the storage channel partners to stand out from the crowd. Oh and also beware!