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Five Storage Resolutions for the Channel In 2011

Sponsored Blog: Wow, it’s 2011 and where has the time gone? If you’re like me, you hate to make resolutions, but this time of year does make you stop and consider. It’s not just time to take stock of our personal lives, but of our business as well, and then consider where and how to invest in 2011.

Infonetics Research forecasts the SAN equipment market to more than double from 2010 to 2014 when it will reach approximately $6.6 billion. This spells a huge opportunity for resellers to take stock of their storage portfolio and make sure they are capitalizing on all customer SAN opportunities.

Here are five storage resolutions you should consider for 2011:

1. It’s Time to Get Thin…

Thin provisioning has been around for a while now, but there is still a huge installed base of over provisioned storage. When a storage system takes up space it will never need, it’s costing your customers money. Instead of packing data into arrays, they might be leaving them half empty and calling you, their reseller, to buy more.

While another array is an attractive sell, a professional services engagement educating your customers on the benefits of thin provisioning is much more attractive since it combines service, software, and hardware. And the great news is that it allows your customers to justify the purchase because thin provisioning ultimately saves them time and money by delivering much-demanded ROI.

Educate your customers on thin provisioning, make some hard-earned bucks in the process and ensure their storage infrastructure is fully implemented through a virtual storage platform.

2. Simplify life...

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to pitch those outdated storage systems. You know the ones – they require specialized skills that hardly anyone has and they were EOL’d years ago.

Help your customers replace outdated storage with more current SAN systems or direct-attached storage. Introduce them to an easy-to-use interface, boatloads of capacity, and help save the planet with energy conservation features. Your customers, and the environment, will thank you.

3. Save, Save, Save…

As budgets and payrolls shrink, customers will find it increasingly hard to justify spending money. The good news is that many enterprise features within storage have become more affordable – so don’t think you can’t provide your customer with the best.

Research and discover storage vendors who can help you deliver enterprise storage features for a fraction of the cost, and you may discover just how much more you can sell into customers with tighter budgets.

4. Carry an Umbrella…

As the saying goes, “the future is bright,” or in our case, bright AND cloudy. This year  is already turning into the year of the cloud, and it will be important to become fluent in technology for both public and private cloud storage efforts.

As we all know, data is extremely valuable and needs to be protected, so research cloud storage and find out if it is right for your customers. If so, determine whether to take it private or public. Just be cautious. It’s not always wise to jump on the latest trend..…does anyone remember jam pants?

5. Get Insurance…

Backup… this should probably be first. Sure, we all know in our hearts that important data needs an airtight backup plan, and we have probably tried to sell/upsell backup solutions to every customer at some point.

In a recent Symantec survey, 57% of SMBs and 47% of midsize companies disclosed they have no disaster recovery plan. In addition, 41% of those same firms said it never even occurred to them to put a backup plan in place!! That spells huge revenue opportunity for storage resellers!

We all know the costs of not having recovery plan or an insufficient recovery plan are enormous -- data loss is estimated at $12 billion annually for the US. So make time to closely examine your customers’ data protection plans early in 2011 and make sure they don’t have any holes.

This might be as easy as going to the scheduler on their respective storage systems and activating the snapshot mechanism. It might mean having a conversation with the hosting company about scheduling frequent backups , or maybe using a remote office for replication. Backup isn’t sexy, but it can make or break your relationship with your customer – and could be an easy money-maker as well!

Here’s hoping that you double your SAN equipment revenue in 2011 – and that this New Year is a prosperous one.

David Zimmer is VP of Worldwide Channels at Dot Hill Systems Corp. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy's annual sponsorship program.

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