StorMagic signs on Arrow to distribute its ROBO-focused virtual storage solution in North America

StorMagic is looking to re-engage with the channel and build up a strong channel business for its sophisticated solution aimed and priced for SMBs and ROBO environments, which will include more strong Canadian partners.

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Hans O’Sullivan, StorMagic’s CEO

Bristol U.K.-based StorMagic, which makes software-defined storage for virtual server environments, has signed its first distribution deal for North America, with Arrow.

StorMagic makes something of a rare commodity, a technically sophisticated virtual storage solution that is purpose-built for the remote office-branch office (ROBO) market as well as smaller companies, and which is specifically priced for that market.

“There has been massive growth in virtual storage appliances, virtual SANs, and software defined storage, but most of these systems are designed for smaller datacentres and up, expensive solutions that can scale up nicely,” said Hans O’Sullivan, StorMagic’s CEO. “In contrast, StorMagic sees a huge opportunity at the entry level. We focus on ROBOs that want to virtualize but who need something simple – something that ‘just works,’ without bells and whistles, and which is cost effective.”

StorMagic SvSAN’s virtualized shared storage works in both VMware and Hyper-V environments, and with any 2-node x86 server set up, eliminating the need for physical SANs, and can be managed from a central location.

“We are able to start with this simple two server solution and do it very cost effectively on low-end servers, because of our purpose-written low-end stack,” O’Sullivan said.

While StorMagic focuses on the lower end of the virtualization market, SvSAN can scale to larger installs when required.

“We scale well above the hypervisors, so you will run into hypervisor limits before you run into limits from our software,” O’Sullivan said. “Our largest customer manages 17 petabytes of data across 2200 locations with 4400 servers.”

While the Arrow deal is StorMagic’s first in North America, it is a major part of a strategy to re-engage with the channel.

“When we started in 2006 we very much started with the channel, but we struggled the first couple years, and over the last couple years we did more direct business, some into very large accounts,” O’Sullivan said. “Now we want to move from being a direct business to being a channel business. This is the first of many announcements over the next year that will move us back from mainly direct to mainly a channel business.”

O’Sullivan indicated that StorMagic has a couple hundred partners globally today, but that they are ones who found StorMagic and stuck with them, even though in the last few years, they haven’t had a formal channel strategy.

“We want to build out that strategy now, so this year, look for a formal channel plan and support tools from us,” he said.

This will also include partnering agreements with large server OEMs – and their channels.

“We have some strong relationships upcoming with some big brand names, likely to be announced in Q2 or Q3, in which we will partner with them to help with selling more servers,” O’Sullivan said. “We will work with them through their channel partners as well.”

Those server vendors were a key factor in StorMagic’s decision to go with Arrow for their first North American distribution.

“The very strong server partners we will be adding encouraged us to work with Arrow because of their own strong relationships with them,” O’Sullivan noted.

He also indicated that they also thought Arrow made sense because while their product is targeted mainly at smaller companies, it is still quite complex to install.

“We have a technical product, and Arrow gives us access to the type of partners who can work with that,” O’Sullivan emphasized. “The resellers we need will understand our technology and can put together solutions based on our technology, and can add services on top of our technology. Our existing channel has strong solutions they put together for their customer base. This is not a ‘box shipped in’ product.”

StorMagic also fills a need for Arrow.

“StorMagic’s simplified two server-software defined storage solution appealed to Arrow at a time when we were looking to branch out into the SMB space in the x86 market,” said Drew Wilderman, Product Manager, Arrow Electronics.  “The StorMagic solution helps us achieve that.”

StorMagic has a presence in the Canadian market already, and a half-dozen resellers. In fact, their first multi-site deal was Canadian, with a western Canadian grocery chain. They want to expand their Canadian presence through Arrow however, and want to add more quality partners here.

“There’s an awful lot of work we can do in Canada,” O’Sullivan said. “We have a good presence there, but I think we still haven’t done enough. We need more strong partners to take advantage of the business that’s there.”