VARs Embrace New HP Storage Array

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print

HP's new storage array is targeted at the SMB sector, and the vendor hopes it will open up new markets for partners.

Partners say Hewlett-Packard's StorageWorks 4400 Enterprise Virtual Array and specialized incentives and rebates around the product will be a huge opportunity for them to boost storage sales to midmarket customers.

The EVA4400, announced Feb. 26, replaces the EVA4100, said Urs Renggli, director of HP's Technology Solutions Group for small and midmarket business.  The EVA4100 was strictly an enterprise product, which required partners to have specialized training and certification.

The EVA4400 is targeted specifically at midmarket business needs, said Renggli, and was designed from scratch to be easy to maintain, provide high reliability and cost about 10 percent less than the EVA4100.  "We could have done it the easy way—stripped down the enterprise product—but we looked at what midmarket customers needed and put those features into this product," he said.

Bobby Thomas, area sales manager at Logicalis, a Georgia HP partner, said his company will sell the EVA4400, "and we're going to sell a heck of a lot of them."  He said the product is a great fit for many of his midmarket customers, although he said he is a little concerned that sales of a lower-end product will erode margins and revenues he used to make on the EVA4100.

"We think, though, that we'll be able to make up for that through volume in the midmarket space," Thomas said.

Click here for the 10 things that are wrong with HP's way in the channel. 

The EVA4100 is a highly successful, channel-centric product that saw double-digit growth for the past 13 quarters, with most of the revenue driven through the channel, said Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing for HP StorageWorks.  But Renggli said with the storage market predicted to grow 13 percent in the next five years, there was a midmarket gap that needed to be filled for customers who are too small to afford the EVA4100 but too large for HP's SMB storage products.

"The problem was that the EVA4100 was too expensive for these partners and their customers.  Now they get the functionality at a price they can afford," said Eitenbichler.

HP also announced new PartnerOne enhancements that Eitenbichler said will open up the product to a new set of channel partners and customers in the midmarket.  A new Fast Start storage select authorization will allow channel partners that are not fully authorized to sell enterprise-class products to offer the EVA4400 to their midmarket customers, he said. 

"We made this possible by making the EVA4400 easier to manage than both the previous version and competing products from Network Appliance and EMC," Eitenbichler said.  This ease of management will let channel partners in the SMB and midmarket space perform installations and integrations for their customers, he said, opening up the opportunity to a new set of partners.

"This product also enables our elite data center partners to sell lower-end storage," he said, adding that any customer considering migrating to HP blade server technology will have to consider storage requirements and that the EVA4400 is now an option. 

A new business opportunity rebate paid up-front will also help channel partners selling to SMB and midmarket customers to close on more storage deals, Eitenbichler said.  However, the rebate will continue to remain back-end only for enterprise-class storage products, he said.

HP is taking orders for the EVA4400 now, and the product will ship starting March 10, the company said.  Pricing starts at $15,000.


Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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