By Chris Ross, VP, EMEA & Asia-Pacific, Recovery Management & Data Modelling Business Unit, CA Technologies
As enterprises and small firms battle to control explosive data growth, the market for back up and data management solutions continues to grow and drive demand for the channel. Virtualisation and Cloud Computing are beginning to reshape the corporate IT agenda, resulting in increased demand from end users for new technology solutions that deliver on more demanding SLAs, and the need to drive more consistent data protection strategy. Ensuring new applications can be easily integrated into existing data protection environments.
The opportunity for the reseller channel today is, to provide technologies that can streamline storage infrastructures and reduce the cost of protecting critical data whilst maintaining availability of applications.
The rise of back up and data management
Business availability is critical these days and end users face two distinct dilemmas:
Data growth more data is being produced, in more locations by more people; whether through M&A activity or organic growth, leading to more geographically spread operations with more mobile workforces.
Also, many business processes are handled by third parties, accelerating and complicating data integrity how can businesses protect data without impacting on their performance?
For business critical operations, the rules are changing. Organisations increasingly need cutting edge products addressing broader needs, business location and speed of recovery - to ensure effective failover of their systems.
Broad, far and fast
With multiple communication channels and exponential data growth, companies need to back up and recover their data faster than before. The question is not simply whether the system needs one big back up: they need to consider more frequent back-ups, allowing more business recovery points. There is also the question of breadth of back up: customers have an increasing range of requirements, whether its operating systems like Linux or applications like Exchange, Oracle and SQL server. Therefore organisations need a broader range of proven recovery management products such as CA Technologies' ARCServe Family of Data Protection solutions to provide these capabilities.
There is also a need for expert knowledge in determining the required scope of back up and data availability that focus on the end users. The IT adviser needs to know how failover and how critical applications need to be supported, for example with the implementation of SharePoint , expertise is needed to determine how many components should fail over. Despite the virtualisation drive, with many complex legacy systems in situ, it is unlikely that any organisation will virtualise everything. Users need technologies and solutions that meet different virtual and non-virtualised environments, that simplify the overall management, and reduce staff resources, assigned to maintain them.
As businesses are increasingly devolved, data may be generated in multiple centres and mobilised workforces need supporting with back up technologies, offsite disaster recovery and application failover. Today's end user, needs broader functionality for everything and fast. As a result, resellers need to go beyond just offering point products and develop an offering to deliver a matrix of back up, support and consulting options. To achieve this, they need a combination of supplier and expert adviser that understands changing demands and complex environments, and has the knowledge of the right components needed to deliver a solution.
What should the channel expect from their chosen vendors?
VARs are focused on providing complete storage solutions, utilizing their close relationships with their customers and broad knowledge of the market to provide technology solutions that address their customer's needs. CA Technologies believes it's critical to engage reseller partners, in order to fulfill customer requirements, covering the whole technology spectrum. In most cases there is also an additional services opportunity, which is best fulfilled by the reseller partners, generating further more margin opportunity.
A clear trend seen today, is vendors taking an increasing number of deals direct, leaving smaller deals to their partners. This is something resellers should be concerned about, as they make their vendor selections. In the data protection area, solutions encompass such a wide breadth of product, consultancy and services opportunities, that there has to be a relationship of mutual trust between Vendor and Reseller; knowing that deals will not be taken direct, and that resellers will provide the right technical capabilities to position a vendor's technology and solutions in the correct way. .
Resellers need to consider a vendor's breadth of technology, when selecting their partnerships. At CA Technologies, our technology offers a broad portfolio of solutions that deliver value to the user. Resellers may need to take a fresh look at the vendor space, technology on offer and the current partnership philosophy to evaluate their vendor line up and make sure they have the right technology offerings available to their customers.
CA Technologies has made significant investment in the ARCserve product family, which today provides ARCserve Backup, ARCserve Replication, ARCserve High Availability and ARCserve Disk-to-Disk. This family of products delivers a wide range of solutions for data protection from 'bare metal recovery' to application high availability. These investments have ensured our products maintain their technology leadership position in the market; which has been confirmed by a number of recent independent reviews and substantiated our claim of delivering the best technology in the market place. CA Technologies has taken the approach of including core leading technologies, such as de-duplication, as part of our base ARCserve Backup product, as opposed to other vendors which are charging significant premiums for loosely integrated new technologies. Moreover, our resellers are not limited to hunting for Maintenance Renewals at existing ARCServe sites, our increased breadth of technology is opening up a much wider opportunity across the entire Storage Software market.
Partnership and opportunity
Beyond the issue of trust and technical capabilities, lies the inevitable question of commercial partnership and support. Resellers naturally want 'protection' on deals, deal registration and margins. Vendors provide richer margin opportunities and robust deal registration for their reseller partners. The level of marketing and sales support that vendors provide, is a bone of contention for many resellers. CA Technologies recognise this need and have been providing dedicated account managers, as well as channel account directors to work with our reseller channel to develop new business opportunities. This, together with marketing funds and aggressive margin opportunities, ensures that our resellers have full support as they promote and sell our solutions.
The reseller channel does need more than just vendor support in the field and are looking to vendors to help drive broader demand and deliver leads back to resellers. CA Technologies has invested in extensive marketing campaigns on behalf of and together with our channel to drive lead generation and overall awareness. Our dedicated lead generation team is qualifying these leads, before passing them to our channel partners; to ensure that every lead passed to a partner is a real opportunity.
The Recovery Management & Data Modeling business unit at CA Technologies is an 800+ strong team supporting our dedicated channel business through Sales, marketing, Support, Development and product management. This large team's only objective is to provide richer solutions that help our reseller partners sell more and generate richer margins.
The storage software market continues to grow, driven by key technology developments such as virtualization and continued demand for faster recovery times and broader application support. There is a significant opportunity for resellers to develop their skills and form partnerships with key vendors such as CA Technologies to exploit this growing market opportunity.