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SNW: Where are the VARs?

Two announcements coming out of the Storage Networking World (SNW) conference in
San Diego this week once again remind the industry that the small to medium size (SMB) business segment is an important battleground that every vendor wants to play in, and every vendor admits that  the vehicle to getting additional SMB customers is through value added resellers (VARs).

It’s not surprising that when Hewlett Packard Corporation (HP) unveiled at SNW its StorageEssentials Standard Edition, a storage resource management (SRM) tool that’s tailor made for the SMBs and priced at $37,000, it stressed that by bundling basic modules to the software rather than adding them separately, the company is making it easier for VARs to offer the product to SMB customers.

Another SMB play came from IBM who announced that its DS3200 and DS3400 products will now come with controllers, host bus adapters (HBAs) and cables.  IBM estimates that the new packages are up to 20% cheaper than purchasing the parts separately.

A separate announcement is that IBM Global Technology Services will offer a set of new services to help customers with the design of their storage environment, the transfer of data to IBM technology and the management of data across vendor platforms as well as assistance with records and e-mail management.  I’m sure VARs will be saddled with assisting customers to implement the bundled systems and services that vendors continue to offer.   

Where are the VAR voices at SNW?  A quick scan of the agenda will lead you to believe that VARs are not a critical part of the storage landscape.  Could this be true?  The biggest storage conference on earth and you can’t find a handful of VARs on the agenda.   Does the storage industry take VARs seriously?  Have a look at the SNW agenda and tell me what you think.

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