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DataCore increasing number of VARs for virtual storage

DataCore plans to increase its number of VAR partners and products to make it more affordable for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to employ virtual storage.

As virtual storage projects increase, DataCore Software Corp. intends to ramp up its channel program and raise the number of its VAR partners from 12 to 50 by the end of next year, according to the company's CEO, George Teixeira.

Speaking at the VMworld conference in Los Angeles earlier this week, Teixeira said the virtual storage effort is gaining momentum, including 1,000 leads from end users and systems integrators at the conference who showed an interest in the company's storage virtualization software.

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Still, Teixeira said, he's treading carefully hoping to pick VARs that have a good technical grounding in storage virtualization and understand that they are providing not just a product but a service.

"A lot of storage VARs are nothing but box movers," Teixeira said. "If you are working with virtualization you are helping a customer change his mindset moving from just plugging in a box to really re-architecting the way they do their business. It's a very big change," Teixeira added.

One major effort is to expand in the small to midsized business (SMB) market where several VARs are using the company's SANmelody software, which supports Fibre Channel and iSCSI connectivity. Among the benefits — according to value added resellers (VARs) who sell the products — is that businesses combining SANmelody with the native support for iSCSI in VMware's ESX server line can avoid costly Fibre Channel infrastructure investments.

"The cost of Fibre Channel from an acquisition perspective was quite high, and that has been a significant barrier for adoption in the small and midrange business segment," according to James Price, president of Fairway Consulting Group, a systems integrator and DataCore VAR.

Avoiding the investment in a Fibre Channel-based SAN to run the virtualization infrastructure, Price said, reduces the price of virtualization significantly.

"It now allows small business customers to really get into the virtualization market at probably the $10,000 mark where previously they were easily in the $50,000 to $75,000 mark," Price said.

Price also noted that in the year since he's been using SANmelody, he's seen an increase in business.

"Over the last year we've doubled our sales of storage simply because we can design and implement a solution in a fraction of the time it takes to do a traditional hardware-based storage solution," Price added.

Other systems integrators concur that the combination of technology tools from VMware and Datacore helps end users optimize their technology investments.

"The synergies between VMware's virtual infrastructure and DataCore's SANMelody products allow organizations to leverage investment and existing capital to do more with what they already own," said Craig Sieve, cofounder of Foedus, another DataCare partner who uses SANmelody and VMware's ESX environment.

Meanwhile, Teixeira said he's looking for VARs that are selling either VMware or Microsoft Virtual Server software, are software consulting oriented and have technical staff that can be trained quickly.

"Beyond that it's really about helping customers go through a mindset change and that's the reason we've been really selective on who we are working with," Teixeira said.

This week at VMworld, DataCore announced that it recently introduced an entry-level virtualization infrastructure foundation for SMBs, which consists of SANmelody, and SANmotion.

The latter product gives customers the ability to migrate Windows data from one server to another. The package, which costs under $1,000, also supports automated thin provisioning and iSCSI protocol support, allowing customers to work on a standard Ethernet network.

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