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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.