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Following a string of acquisitions and enterprise product launches, enterprise storage goliath EMC is turning its sights on the SMB (small and midsize business) market, with a new product line and an all-channel market strategy.

EMC, based in Hopkinton, Mass., announced on Feb. 6 its EMC Insignia, six new products for storage, management, protection and data sharing, aimed at businesses with less than $25 million in annual revenue.

All six are built on SMB products acquired with the company’s purchases in the past two years, EMC officials said.

The EMC Insignia consists of EMC Clarion AX Series for data sharing; EMC Storage Administrator for Exchange SMB Edition information management software (formerly Allocity); EMC Retrospect for data protection (Dantz); EMC RepliStor SMB Edition, which guards against hardware failure (Legato); EMC VisualSRM SMB Edition storage management software (Astrum); and EMC eRoom SMB Edition collaboration software (Documentum).

The products in Insignia were purchased as SMB plays, but were brought upmarket to the enterprise.

“Now we’re stripping some of the enterprise functionality down and returning to the roots because we see a huge opportunity at the SMB,” where businesses are just beginning to need enterprise-quality storage, said Don Chouinard, Director of Products for EMC Insignia.

Click here to read about EMC’s new reseller and ISV programs.

“Small and medium businesses are definitely interested in information management and storage,” said Jim Grass, senior director of technical sales at CDW, based in Vernon Hills, Ill., “but they want a better way to acquire everything they need and have it integrated within their network infrastructure.”

To gain a foothold in the market, EMC launched its Velocity SMB Partner Program, mirroring its Velocity Partner Program for enterprise VARs, and built on a handful of SMB partners it married into with the recent acquisitions.

EMC sources said the company has not established benchmarks for this first year in the SMB market, but is simply looking to gain a foothold for future growth.

The company said it expects to recruit several thousand new general-purpose VARs based on geography. Health care, legal and government VARs will be of particular help in reaching the markets where storage issues are paramount, Chouinard said.

“This line is specifically selected for the SMB. It’s easy to set, easy to install; they often run themselves; it’s approachable,” he said. “To take those out and attach with potential customers you need the right channel, and for us that meant a new channel.”

Read more here about EMC’s offerings for small and midsize businesses.

To attract a new class of VAR, EMC mirrored the SMB program on its two-tiered Velocity program for enterprise VARs, but with significantly smaller sales and training quotas, EMC said.

Tier One partners must sell $124,000 of hardware or $30,000 of software annually; Tier Two partners sell $63,000 of hardware or $15,000 of software.

“The big partner program is for big boys, selling big iron to big companies,” Chouinard said, explaining the need for a new program. “They typically didn’t call on the SMBs; they’re not geared for that and the program isn’t geared for those who do call on SMBs.”