Dot Hill Storage Appliances Target SMB VARs
Chances are you already know Dot Hill Systems Corp. — but perhaps not by name. The storage specialist has a solid track record working behind the curtains with big-name OEMs. Now, Dot Hill wants to step into the spotlight with an expanded channel program, and disk-to-data protection appliances for small and midsize businesses. Can Dot Hill stand out in the crowded storage and disaster recovery markets? Here are some clues from The VAR Guy.
Let’s start with the basics: Dot Hill has been a company in transition. For several years, Wall Street considered Dot Hill far too dependent on a Sun Microsystems OEM relationship. Rewind to 2004, and a Sun contract generated 83 percent of Dot Hill’s revenues, notes Answers.com.
And we all know how Sun’s fortunes have fallen in recent years… before Oracle stepped in to acquire the company.
Fast forward to the present, and Dot Hill has been busy remaking itself as a more diversified storage company — with a heavy emphasis on channel partners. In September 2009, the company launched a new partner program that included sales and marketing components, an online portal, and deal registration discounts.
Now, Dot Hill is expanding its product portfolio for channel partners. The latest example is Dot Hill’s new AssuredSAN 3000 Series appliance. According to the company’s official statement:
“By including robust volume copy, snapshot and remote replication as standard in the AssuredSAN 3000 Series, Dot Hill makes affordable, comprehensive disaster recovery solutions available to the entry level space through its growing base of channel partners.”
Sounds intriguing. The most important part of the statement is the customer focus. Notice that Dot Hill mentions a “growing base of channel partners” rather than end-customers. That’s an important distinction. When most storage companies launch new products or services, they wax poetic about end-customer benefits. Instead, Dot Hill has specifically tailored its messaging to VARs. Smart move.
Who’s Hosting This Party?
But how does Dot Hill plan to disrupt the storage industry? Here’s the really interesting part. The company says AssuredSAN 3000 storage appliances (working with AssuredRemote software) provides “easy-to-use, remote office data protection and eliminating the need for expensive, third party, host-based software.”
Ah, there’s the rub: At a time when so many folks are hyping SaaS and cloud storage, Dot Hill claims its appliance approach allows channel partners to deliver complete disaster recovery solutions that are lower cost than third-party hosted options. The VAR Guy hasn’t had the chance to check Dot Hill’s math, but our resident blogger enjoys it when a vendor bucks market hype.
Names to Know
On the personnel front, The VAR Guy is keeping an eye on Dot Hill’s David Zimmer (VP of worldwide channel sales) Andy Mills (VP of marketing and business development).
Zimmer has held key VP and/or channel positions at DataDirect Networks, Pillar Data Systems, QLogic, Cisco and Banyan Systems. (Side note: The VAR Guy misses good ol’ Banyan Vines.) And Mills joined Dot Hill through the company’s September 2008 buyout of Ciprico’s RAID and NAS assets.
The VAR Guy will check in with Zimmer and Mills in the months ahead to see how the Dot Hill partner program is progressing.