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StorMagic: Beware of Hyperconverged 'Sticker Shock'

The StorMagic Partner Program is seeing big growth, and the U.S. is the U.K. vendor's biggest market.

It’s only been a couple of years since StorMagic, a U.K.-based, software-defined storage (SDS) company, launched a formal channel partner program. Now, the vendor says it’s 100-percent channel-led, recently announcing 400-percent growth in its StorMagic Partner Program. 

We decided it was time to sit down with the top channel executive at the company to discuss the company’s go-to-market strategy in North America and the partner opportunity. John Glendenning, senior vice president sales and business development, is responsible for partnerships and channels, and was brought in to kick off the company’s partner program. 

Channel Futures: Let’s begin with some background on StorMagic

John Glendenning: StorMagic has been in the market for 10 years and our primary product is SvSAN. We have [more than] 1,000 customers. SvSAN simplifies storage at the edge and in small data centers.

John Glendenning

If you think about the SDS and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) markets, the reason that we’re seeing a strong demand in the channel is that there’s a growing need to service data processing at the edge and in small data centers. More and more data are being processed outside the data center and you can’t think of cloud as simply centralizing everything. You have to think of cloud as far more complex than that; all of your computer storage might not be in a single place, and clearly the channel community is recognizing that. 

CF: You said that StorMagic has a simple story. What is it? 

JG: Hyperconverged infrastructure is getting a lot of customer attention, and analyst and press attention. What isn’t being written about so much is what we describe as the sticker shock that comes with hyperconverged infrastructure. Not everything requires the type of architecture that many of our contemporaries in this space would promote. 

What our channel partners are telling us is that they’re working with us because our solution is simple, affordable and it’s a flexible two-server configuration. 

The reality is that the compute and storage requirements at the edge of the enterprise network – think of retail, manufacturing, energy, state and local government, education, pharmaceutical ... any vertical or market sector where you have distributed IT – for whatever reason, the chief storage requirements there are not data-center storage requirements, but they are mission-critical. They require those data-center-type services, but the budget doesn’t stretch to data-center-type pricing. 

They need a simple two-server cluster that meets their requirements and also meets their budget.

Right now, we have a U.S.-based partner who is competitively bidding – they haven’t won it yet – who believes his bid is one-fifth that of his competitor – $100,000 versus $500,000 – who is using a different solution. 

CF: So you mention this U.S. partner. What presence does StorMagic have in the U.S.? 

JG: About 50 percent of the company’s business is in the U.S. We’re a British software company, but our largest market is the U.S., followed by Germany and the U.K. Our expansion plans have driven our entry into 23 new countries in the last couple of years. In total, we’re deployed in 60 countries. We work with about 250 partners and five distributors globally. We sell through distribution. 

We also have partnerships with server vendors. We have a worldwide agreement with Cisco and our product is on the Cisco price list, so the entire Cisco channel is able to quote StorMagic SvSAN with Cisco UCS. We have a similar partnership with Lenovo in [North America] and our product is sold through the Lenovo channel. In the U.K., we deliver an integrated appliance with Dell EMC

I’d say watch this space for other similar partnerships. 

CP/CF: What do you look for in a partner? 

JG: We have a varied group of partners. We’re looking for partners who are recognized as being able to help their customers and who promote our product. We’re more about solution partners, value-added resellers [and] turnkey vertical partners than fulfillment partners. 

Our partners fall into two areas: partners who are more horizontal solution-based resellers, such as larger partners like CDW, to smaller partners, such as Cloud & Wire in Atlanta. A midsize partner that we work closely with is Presidio; our turnkey partners include us as part of their turnkey solution and are very focused on a specific market, such as Harris Public Safety. They use our SvSAN for a 911 public safety solution for industrial complexes. 

Our most successful partners sell their customers what they need and not what they want to sell them. So back to my comment about sticker shock — we know that customers are being sold HCI that is massively overprovisioned. When you get into a hype cycle in the market, some organizations just buy the thing that’s in the hype cycle — just because they think they need to do it. 

StorMagic has a solution that’s a perfect fit for the edge of the enterprise and small data center — and for those customers getting that sticker shock, we could well be the solution that they need.

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