Nine months after leaving his post as a vice-president of Cisco System’s operations here, Brent Rebus has emerged as the new head of StorageTek Canada determined to increase the number of the company’s partners.

“”We need to and are looking to grow our partner base because they have the services

and the complimentary technologies to enable our customers to take advantage of our solutions,”” Rebus said in an interview.

Rebus quietly took over as president and general manager of the U.S.-based information lifecycle management company at the end of April, following the promotion of Jeff Roddick from that position to the company’s United Kingdom division.

He estimated there are over 50 distribution and reseller partners here, including IBM’s consulting division, ESI Technologies, Infostream Technologies and Open Storage Solutions.

“”We’re going to continue to enhance the value that we deliver to the partner base in terms of identifying the types of certification requirements they have to meet,”” Rebus said, “”and as they invest more in us my plan is to have the organization invest more in them.

“”As we do so we’ll be able to continue to increase the support, to increase the offerings we have and increase the investments we do from a program and marketing perspective. By doing that I think we’ll increase our opportunity to grow our market space.””

The growing number of companies running open systems environment offers the opportunity for partner revenue “”to continue to grow exponentially,”” he added.

“”I think it’s a great move for StorageTek and for partners,”” said Greg Rokos, president of ESI Information Technologies of Montreal, a StorageTek and Cisco reseller, who’s known Rebus for several years.

At Cisco Rebus was known for building strong relationships and understanding customers. “”Having worked with him in the past I think he has the right stuff,”” said Rokos.

Rebus’ hiring is only one of several moves Rokos has praise for, noting StorageTek recently lured Michael Mercer from Bell Micro to run its Canadian channel strategy.

According to Alan Freedman of IDC Canada, StorageTek is one of the leading tape drive hardware and software companies in the country whose competitors include IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Advanced Digital Information Corp. (ADIC). However, it is facing increased pressure from companies such as EMC Corp., which are promoting disk-to-disk storage and backup.

Freeman said it is also increasing revenues from its consulting services. First quarter revenue from services grew 11 per cent over the same period in 2003, the company announced in April.

In addition to selling tape and disk libraries, StorageTek also sells storage networking appliances, data management and backup and recovery management software.

The company has over 200 employees here, said Rebus.

The industry was surprised last Augaust when he left Cisco Canada, where he was vice-president of enterprise, small and medium business operations, after being with the company for nine years. Before that he’d been with IBM for 11 years.

“”It was time for a change,”” he said in explaining his departure. “”It was time to spend a little time with the family and recharge the batteries.””

Then he began looking for organizations that had “”an opportunity for upside in the marketplace they play, as well as an environment where I can add leadership to take it to the next level.””

Last month StorageTek announced first quarter net income of US$23.3 million, up from US$16 million in the same period in 2003, on revenues of US$515 million.

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