SoftIron is known for its HyperDrive software-defined storage portfolio.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

April 14, 2021

3 Min Read
Data Center IT Guy

SoftIron, the data center services provider, just launched its inaugural VAR program, SoftIron + Co.

The new program aims to build a community of profitable, successful channel partners to help SoftIron’s get more market share. Partners can differentiate themselves by expanding their access to SoftIron’s fully integrated, open source-based data center solutions and services.

Partners and customers know SoftIron for its HyperDrive software-defined storage portfolio. This includes appliances that are task-specific. That means they are hardware-optimized around their open source cores, such as Ceph.

Phil Crocker is SoftIron’s vice president of business development and channel.


SoftIron’s Phil Crocker

“We are calling it SoftIron + Co because we want our VARs to truly become part of our extended virtual team, fully enabled and as capable as our own field sales team and presales engineers,” he said. “Our training and certification program underpins this knowledge-transfer capability. We’ve had an open partner program previously, with simple online deal registration and an opportunistic approach to the channel, until today.”

Timing Is Everything

SoftIron secured new customers in government, academic and commercial enterprises over the last 18 months, Crocker said. It now wants to further build out its “front of house” with a channel-first go-to-market strategy.

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“With industry analysts predicting that over 50% of deployed storage will be software-defined on premises or in the cloud by 2024, we feel the timing is right to begin our channel buildout in earnest, to intercept the growth curve,” he said.

The data center services provider focuses on building a single-tier VAR/SI channel, Crocker said. SoftIron + Co addresses that in 2021.

“There are several reasons for that, including our desire to maintain transparency to the end users as we enable our selling partners in the indirect channel,” he said. “We’re looking to deliver all the significant benefits of open-source Ceph in a channel-friendly appliance form factor. As customers are learning about how to liberate the benefits of Ceph, Sonic and other rapidly growing open-source approaches, we’re keen to provide a high-quality experience and believe a single-tier model will serve our customers, our partners and ourselves the best as we build out.”

‘Healthy’ Interest

SoftIron is seeing “healthy interest” from many service providers, especially in Asia and Australia/New Zealand, Crocker said. They want to provide either value-add or managed services. Therefore, that’s an active area of SoftIron’s business model under development.

“Over the last 180 days, the sales team, product marketing and business development/channels staff at SoftIron engaged in over 200 online calls/interviews with a wide range of prospective partners as we fine-tuned our program,” he said. “Their comments helped shape our thinking. We also have significant experience within the company of developing partner programs of this type. A lot of the best DNA from the data networking and storage industry … has been built into SoftIron + Co.

‘Compelling’ Reasons for VARs

Access to SoftIron’s open-source platforms and the ability to deliver professional services around Ceph-based architectures are just two “compelling” reasons why VARs should take a close look at SoftIron + Co, Crocker said.

“As well as producing far better than table stakes technology, we’re offering generous margins including deal-registration discipline with a large margin separation to help our partners win the deals they deserve to,” he said. “We also aspire to be the de facto Ceph storefront that end users automatically visit first based on our reputation for solution quality, customer support and ease of doing business with. This will lead to a win-win-win for end user, VAR and SoftIron.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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