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How should you respond in the event of merger or takeover? This checklist offers some strategies you can employ.
|Checklist: Be prepared for vendor consolidation|
|Minimize risk before it happens|
|You can take steps to ensure that the impact of consolidation has the least possible effect. Consider the following:|
|Work with your customers to select the right vendors. It is more likely that the larger more mature vendor will acquire its competition; the big fish will swallow the small fish. Work with vendors who will integrate new technology into their existing product sets.|
|Stick with standard technologies; don't try and implement things that are too radical. Keep what you implement simple.|
|Keep to industry standards. Advise your customers not to implement unratified protocols or "non-standard standards" without thinking through the implications. For example, when choosing Fibre Channel technology, Cisco VSANs will add functionality but don't work when connected to other fabric vendors' kits.|
|Think about product longevity. Choose technologies that look to have a long lifespan.|
|Develop migration strategies|
|When the inevitable happens and a product line or two get merged together, how will you cope?|
|Help your customer develop a product roadmap; work with both customers and vendors to develop a clear understanding of future product direction.|
|Work with your customer to create a data migration strategy. Storage hardware and software must be replaced over time. You should have a migration strategy to eventually replace all parts in your infrastructure, which may mean developing host, fabric or array-based migration product suites, depending on the level of interoperability of old and new kit.|
|In addition, as a channel partner you should consider the following:|
|Clear product roadmaps: Have an understanding on your vendors' technology at least 18 months to two years ahead. After any consolidation, ask for a clear statement of new product direction.|
|Migration tools and support: Offer customer assistance if you have to change your product line and move to a new technology. Agree to bake migration into the deal for future product purchases.|
|Additional product interoperability: Ask vendors how they intend to provide additional interoperability among new product sets. For example, in a merger of two Fibre Channel switch manufacturers, the previously separate product lines should be supported in a single fabric. Use this information to help customers move forward in their consolidated environments.|
|You can't avoid the future, but you can take some simple steps to develop your own strategy for handling a vendor consolidation.|
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Go back|
| Chris M. Evans
Chris M. Evans is an independent storage consultant with Brookend Ltd., with nearly 20 years' experience in a wide range of storage platforms covering mainframe, open systems and Windows. Chris specializes in network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) technologies, designing and implementing large-scale infrastructure projects for major financial corporations. Online, Chris maintains www.storagewiki.com; you can catch up with him on his blog at www.storagegurus.com.
Copyright 2006 TechTarget