Storage specialist Western Digital have asked value-added resellers to take part in its assault on the small-to-medium business (SMB) network backup market.
The manufacturer is now actively recruiting specialist VARs to grow and fill out its geographical coverage across the UK and Europe, part of a long-haul push to increase its share of the business of providing network-attached storage and backup products to companies with fewer than 250 employees.
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WD first dipped its toe in the market for SMB network storage products in 2011. It extended the initiative into Europe last year. In between, in December 2012, it acquired French database backup company Arkeia, now integrated into WD and, said Tom Gallivan, head of WD’s SMB business, is currently being pumped up to better support his firm’s goal of winning a significant share of the nascent SMB network backup market.
WD’s own forecasts have SMB NAS and network backup sales rising, respectively, from $492m and $467m in 2013 to $643m and $571m in 2017.
According to Gallivan, SMBs want solid, local solutions. These businesses are “really anti-cloud”, he says – they don’t trust popular online storage services to keep their business data safe.
WD’s plan includes expanding the operation’s geographical coverage by increasing the number of VARs selling WD's SMB products, among them network backup appliances based on Linux and running Arkeia software, the software itself, and WD’s own Windows-based SMB-centric Sentinel NAS boxes.
Many non-technical types prefer the familiarity of the Windows UI, Gallivan said, but there’s growing demand for Linux-based versions of the NAS products.
Gallivan said feedback from customers and research into SMB buying habits suggests resellers remain the prime way small and medium-sized businesses acquire and implement new technology.
A case in point: while half of Arkeia's business was originally done direct, since the acquisition its sales are now entirely transacted through channel partners.
Arkeia has some 10,000 customers in 100 countries, but WD reckons it can increase the former figure significantly with the help of VARs. ®