EMC Canada Tuesday said it had formed a reseller alliance with Skydata Corp. as part of a strategy to extend the storage giant’s high-end market dominance to the small and medium sized-enterprise markets.

Rob Stroud, divisional partner manager for EMC Canada, said the company wants to take the lead in the Canadian SME market within the next 12-24 months. He said EMC is aiming for a dozen resellers through the agreement with Skydata, a manufacturer and distributor of storage solutions based in Mississuaga, Ont.

“We’re not looking for a couple of hundred resellers in the marketplace. We’re looking for a focused amount – maybe 10-15,” Stroud said, adding Skydata is EMC’s only Canadian-based distributor. “What we’re doing is leveraging the traditional distribution model. We’re utilizing distribution to increase our reach across the country.”

Under terms of the agreement, Skydata will integrate and distribute solutions incorporating EMC’s Clariion line of systems and software to address storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) demand.

Skydata CEO Howard Goldberg said the alliance will broaden his company’s offerings, which already include product from Hitachi Data Systems, Exabyte Corp. and Pioneer Inc. Along with brand equity and expertise EMC’s particular differentiation is in its software, Goldberg said.

Stroud said EMC’s attraction to Skydata was based on the latter’s focus on storage. Skydata’s mass storage solutions incorporate disk, tape, optical, automation and storage networking capabilities.

“That (storage) is all they do. What they don’t do is server technology and non-storage products, which, in some instances, can de-focus the partner from its core competencies.”

Though Goldberg said his company is looking to venture into the enterprise market, Skydata is mainly an SME player, which dovetails nicely with EMC’s ambitions.

“The mid-range market is where we hit our stride,” Goldberg said.

Allan Freedman, research director for services and storage for IDC Canada, said he believes the agreement will indeed allow EMC to broaden its base from the Fortune 500 companies that widely use the company’s Symmetrix line of high-end storage solutions. EMC’s command of the Canadian high-end market share was large enough in 2000 to give it the lead in total enterprise disk revenue even though it only competes in the external space.

“What this does is allow them to attack the account base of Compaq customers,” he said. “Compaq customers are used to dealing with the mid-range product set. This will give (EMC) increased access to that market.”

Stroud said the alliance with Skydata does not conflict with EMC’s recently-announced agreement with Dell Computer Corp., also designed to deliver to both companies increased market share in the midrange storage market. Under that agreement, the companies co-brand EMC’s Clariion enterprise storage systems line, making Dell becoming the primary reseller of Clariion systems.

“The Dell relationship is more in the OEM realm as opposed to the reseller realm,” Stroud said. “We expect at the end-user level that all our partners will be able to bring the product at a similar price point to the end users.”

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