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Egnyte, NetApp partner deal aims to clear path to file sharing, syncing for MSPs

Online file-sharing company Egnyte has partnered with NetApp to offer file sharing and synchronization to customers through NetApp's channel partners.

Online file-sharing company Egnyte Inc. has joined the NetApp Partner Program for Service Providers. The partnership may make it simpler for NetApp's value-added reseller and MSP partners to engage with customers about a file-share and synchronization strategy that's on-premises, in the cloud or hybrid.

Egnyte, a four-and-a-half-year-old company based in Mountain View, Calif., differentiates itself from its competitors by providing the capability to leverage local storage or third-party cloud providers, or some combination, according to Barry Phillips, chief marketing officer at Egnyte. The company has 30,000 paying customers, 1 million users and almost 1,400 channel partners worldwide, with about 900 of its partners in the U.S.

Egnyte is hitching its trailer to the NetApp partner channel to broaden its customer base and market stance, said Ross Kemp, director of partner marketing at Egnyte and who is responsible for developing the NetApp partnership.

For NetApp channel partners such as Computer Media Technologies (CMT) of Santa Clara, Calif., the Egnyte/NetApp deal makes for an easier discussion with customers filing share and synchronization.

"Most of our customers need to improve access with a remote workforce or they need mobile access on multiple devices inside of IT governance, so they need to do so securely," said Christopher Kloes, vice president of sales for managed services at CMT.

While organizations can turn to any of the cloud file-sharing vendors on the market -- for instance, Dropbox, Box, SugarSync or YouSendIt -- and do, NetApp storage customers that sign up for Egnyte buy into an end-to-end NetApp strategy.

The tight integration with NetApp, using an application programming interface for integration, improves file access speed and security, Egnyte said. Customers also get a global view of their files, regardless of the location of the files, from their device of choice, according to Phillips.

Kloes' go-to-market strategy with Egnyte is to lead with a hybrid solution. "Our job is to sell to IT and give them the tools so that they can provide services to their customers in a controlled way," he said.

With shadow IT, or independent technology purchases such as cloud file sharing from independent Software as a Service vendors on the rise, Kloes believes the NetApp/Egnyte partnership can help IT mitigate its compliance concerns and regain some control over IT spending.

In an April 17 blog post about the impact of a hybrid cloud model on the online file-sharing market, Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Terri McClure said the availability of a hybrid cloud model will do little to sway online file sharing among organizations not using such services. "However, 40% of respondents from organizations that already use [online file sharing] said that the availability of a hybrid cloud model would cause their organization to accelerate its [online file-sharing] usage," she wrote.

NetApp channel partners can become Egnyte partners and achieve one of three tiers of partnership -- Referral, Select or Elite -- which determines the level of commissions, sales support and marketing assistance they'll receive.

Egnyte offers formal technical and sales training, demand generation, deal registration, market development funds and margins between 15% and 30%, according to Kemp. He added that Egnyte is first looking to engage NetApp partners that have already adopted a managed service provider (MSP) model. However, he said, the company would not turn away any NetApp partner interested in Egnyte.

NetApp's partnership with Egnyte follows EMC Corp.'s acquisition of cloud file-management vendor Syncplicity last year. EMC bought Syncplicity to provide customers with secure and compliant solutions for extended enterprise collaboration.

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