EMC targets SMB market with new packages

EMC announced a new line of bundled networked storage packages targeting the midsize enterprise and small-to-medium-size business (SMB) marketplace that include lower pricing, a greater emphasis on channel sales and a Web portal tool that expedites the process of configuring and ordering products based on industry best practices.

EMC's new program, dubbed Making Storage Simple, will focus on lower-priced bundled offerings for storage-area networks (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS), including configurations that are also supported by reseller partners.

The company also said its new bundled Express Solutions will offer more attractive financing options and will target growing needs such as server consolidation and centralized management, backup and recovery, archiving and remote copying of online and archived application data for disaster recovery.

The first of its bundled offerings will focus on e-mail archival, because that is among the fastest-growing applications at small-to-midsize companies, said Mike Wytenus, senior director for EMC Clariion global storage. "We will add other applications over time. The next area we plan to address is databases -- SQL Server -- for online transaction processing," he said.

Peter Gerr, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said he doesn't see EMC's new offerings "as being unique in the market. Every major vendor has recognized that the SMB and medium-size enterprise space is a potentially lucrative place to grow its business."

The challenge, he said, is bringing the right products through the right channels and at the right prices. "I think EMC realises this. I think it's too soon to say whether EMC will be successful in this market, but EMC is making the right moves."

Michael Fisch, an analyst at The Clipper Group, said the new program is a big step for EMC, given its history of focusing on the high-end marketplace. "I think what's most substantial is how they're pulling together the integrated packages. It's also the ability to configure these systems through a wizard. It's the availability through the channel. It's the whole package and not one thing," Fisch said.

In reaction to EMC's announcement, Hewlett-Packard said its Web portal, called Single Point of Connectivity Knowledge, also offers information and updates about supported HP storage products.

HP said one of its Web portal's key features is the Connectivity Search Tool that enables channel partners to quickly search databases for descriptions and configurations of products and services, including server operating systems.

Wytenus noted that EMC has spent more than US$6.5 billion on acquisitions over the past three years for companies such as VMware, Documentum and Legato Systems. He said the company is now attempting to integrate the various services and products into bundled offerings for the SMB market.

He said companies with revenues between US$100 million and US$999 million are a sweet spot in the network storage market because they face the same data growth and regulatory pressures as large enterprises but don't have the same IT staffs or budgets. "For example, we've created solutions that use Microsoft's best practices and interfaces like the one for (Volume Shadow Copy Service) for snapshots to be easily deployed at a customer site," Wytenus said.

One EMC package focuses on consolidating and automating Microsoft Exchange environments that will include Clariion CX series arrays with cheaper ATA drives and EmailXtender from Legato, as well as EMC's SnapView and EMC Replication Manager/SE software. For compliance, the bundle is offered with EMC's Centera content-addressed storage array.

Another archiving package includes Legato's EmailXtender Archive Edition software with Clariion storage. That software will automatically move older e-mails from higher-performance disk drives to cheaper ATA drives on the same system.

"Half the storage market is in the midsize enterprise and SMB space. These segments are growing at two to three times the size of enterprises, but their storage budgets are smaller, so these solutions have to be within those budgetary guidelines," Wytenus said.

The new EMC Express Solutions are available from EMC resellers with pricing starting at US$5,995.

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