For the first time in EMC’s history, VARs will be able to sell a storage solution that is specifically designed for the channel and targeted at the small to medium business market. Ken Steinhardt, director of technology analysis at EMC Corp. said the channel has a very important role to play with this

release.

“”This is the first product that EMC has produced that is targeted 100 per cent for the channel,”” said Steinhardt, who was in Toronto last week for the launch. “”EMC’s direct end user sales force doesn’t sell this product. That’s a significant change.””

The EMC Clariion AX100, which launched in Canada last week, is easy to install, manage and maintain, according to the Hopkinton, Mass. company. Starting at under US$6,000 the AX100, code-named “”Piranha,”” is also the lowest cost system EMC has ever introduced, said Steinhardt.

“”Not only is it the lowest cost system we’ve ever introduced at EMC, relative to the kinds of products people have had in this space we think (AX100) is significantly lower cost and more attractive,”” said Steinhardt.

The storage system also appeals to SMB and partners, who may not have the technical expertise or competency in-house, added Steinhardt.

“”This is something our partners and customers can directly install, directly manage themselves. It doesn’t require traditional vendor service and we think that’s something that’s a significant breakthrough for this class or for any class.””

The AX100 comes standard with EMC Navisphere Agent software and runs on Windows, Linux and Netware platforms.

“”At this price we’ve bundled in software that is standard, included and pre-configured that is more typical of what people associate with a much more robust storage system,”” said Steinhardt. “”At this price point we’ve got functionality that’s absolutely second to none.””

Key features include up to 3TB with up to 12 Serial ATA disks, choice of 160 GB and 250 GB drive capacities, up to eight host connections, integrated and pre-loaded management functionality, “”hot swappable”” customer replaceable components and SAN, NAS or DAS connectivity.

The AX100 can do storage area network integration and be connected as a network attached storage device with EMC’s recently launched NetWin 110 NAS Gateway for under US $12,000.

This announcement was made in conjunction with EMC’s partners including Mississauga, Ont.-based Skydata Corp., which will distribute the product to resellers and end users.

Company CEO Howard Goldberg said the release is reflective of a new foray for EMC into the entry-level marketplace.

“”We have been in that marketplace before not with EMC but with other products,”” said Goldberg. “”Traditionally this type of solution has been the bastion of the tier 2 vendor. I think the market potential is significant.””

According to Toronto research firm Evans Research Corp. total revenues in the Canadian enterprise storage market were up 28 per cent in Q4 2003 compared with the same period of the previous year. Networked storage saw the largest increase with SAN revenues up 46 per cent from Q4 02 and NAS revenues up by 58 per cent for the same period.

In order to compete with Dell’s strategy to drive down cost and complexity of storage solutions, many vendors like EMC have announced new products aimed at the SMB market.

In another announcement, EMC and Dell Inc. announced Dell, which is an EMC partner, will sell the AX100 to end users. Asked how Skydata plans to compete with Dell’s Clariion offering against its Clariion offering, Goldberg said: “”Often”” – the same answer he gave when asked the same question years earlier when Skydata first partnered with EMC.

Goldberg said that for 2003 EMC had one-third of the storage market with Dell having the other third and the remainder going to channel and direct sales.

“”I’m confident together with our VAR partners that we’re going to compete handily with Dell.””

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