Entry level-focused StorMagic launches first channel program

StorMagic has sold mainly direct since its founding in 2006, but is transitioning to a 100 per cent channels strategy, and to expand its base of quality partners has unveiled its first partner program.

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Hans O’Sullivan, StorMagic’s CEO

Bristol U.K.-based StorMagic, which makes software-defined storage for virtual server environments, and which is transitioning from selling mainly direct to selling entirely through channels, has introduced its Preferred Partner Program, its first formal partner program.

When StorMagic began in 2006, it sold through channel partners, but after a couple rough early years, they transitioned to selling mainly direct. At this point, however, they see much greater growth potential by moving back to an indirect model.

“We are moving all of our business to indirect, and any direct business we have is being moved to the channel” said Hans O’Sullivan, StorMagic’s CEO. To this end, they announced their first North American distribution deal, with Arrow, back in March. Their channels strategy will also include partnering agreements with large server OEMs, which will in turn involve those vendors’ channels in bringing StorMagic to market. These relationships are scheduled to be announced in the relatively near future.

StorMagic makes a virtual storage solution, SvSAN, that is targeted at the entry level, smaller datacentres and the remote office-branch office (ROBO) market. It is also priced for those markets, in contrast to much of the rest of the virtual storage appliances, virtual SANs, and software defined storage available today.

“We can provide high availability in two x86 servers, to better compete against people coming in with competitor products,” O’Sullivan said. SvSAN’s virtualized shared storage works in both VMware and Hyper-V environments, eliminates the need for physical SANs, and can be managed from a central location. While StorMagic’s target market is the entry level end of the virtualization market, the solution can scale higher than that, to the point where O’Sullivan said customers will run up against hypervisor limits before they run into limits from the SvSAN software.

StorMagic’s re-engagement with the channel reflects the fact that the product is better suited to be sold by partners, in part because it addresses the needs of the part of the market which is channel-dominated, and in part because SvSAN is fairly technical and complex to install. That was a key reason they chose Arrow as their distributor, because Arrow’s partners typically work with more complex technology.

Today, StorMagic has about 120 partners globally, most of whom were acquired in an ad hoc manner when the company was selling direct, and who typically came to them.

“They are pretty evenly spread between North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific, with 40 something in North America,” O’Sullivan said.

Expanding the partner base is a key goal of the program, with the number of North American partners likely to double through it.

“If I had 40 good partners in North America, I would be a happy man,” O’Sullivan said.

Some of the benefits now provided through the program were available before on an ad hoc basis.

“We did a lot of this previously, but we just hadn’t formalized it,” O’Sullivan noted. “We had deal registration and things like that. But now it benefits by being part of a formal process.”

The Champions Program is the deal registration component of the partner program.

“I think our Champions program is very generous in giving 20 per cent extra for deal registration,” O’Sullivan said.

The Preferred Partner Program also includes access to dedicated StorMagic sales and marketing programs and MDF, online training with sales and technical tracks, pre- and post-sales support, and access to SvSAN software for testing and evaluation. The program has a single tier. Resellers who are not part of the program can buy the software through distribution, but of course do not get the benefits of being in the program.

“Our technology, particularly its ability to provide HA with two servers, also lets partners put together deals that are more cost effective than their competition,” O’Sullivan said.


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