Resellers that currently offer Data Domain but are affiliated with EMC’s competitors are in somewhat of a pickle right now. The data deduplication market is hot and getting hotter so resellers better have something in their solution portfolio to offer their customers. Unfortunately EMC has not yet publicly stated its intentions as to how it intends to treat current Data Domain partners and the last thing any reseller wants right now is to walk into a customer account without a deduplication solution.
Resellers that are already part of EMC’s channel are probably in better shape than those that are not. As an independent hardware provider, Data Domain’s product could be more readily resold by any reseller regardless of what other products it offered. Now that EMC has direct control of Data Domain, the future of Data Domain’s channel program is hazy at best.
As such, it is only logical to assume that EMC will bend towards favoring current and prospective EMC channel partners in whatever final arrangement is announced. So for Data Domain resellers that are aligned with EMC’s competitors, now is the time to explore other available options before EMC cuts them off and they no longer have a deduplication solution to sell to their customers.
In assessing what options are available to them, they should look for some of the same characteristics in a new solution that originally attracted them to Data Domain in the first place. These features include:
- Turnkey deployments in customer environments. The appeal of data deduplication systems is they can directly plug these systems directly into their customers’ existing networks. The systems should look and act like file servers so setup times are minimal and backup software knows how to manage them.
- Mature data deduplication software. Neither you nor your customers are going to want a “new” data deduplication solution that is untested in the field. This prerequisite shortens the list of companies you can work reasonably expect to look at as an alternative to Data Domain.
- 100% channel focused. Nothing is more frustrating than to go through the entire sales process and get close to closing the deal with a customer than to have the manufacturer of the product by-pass you and sell directly to the customer. Equally frustrating, you do not want a product that you are reselling also available from an online website at a cut rate price.
- A single point of contact. A key for any successful reseller is to avoid getting trapped in support issues. Selling a data deduplication solution that includes products from multiple vendors can put you on the spot to support it. To avoid that, you need a solution from a provider that also can meet your support needs.
It is for these four reasons that yesterday’s announcement of the new Nexsan DeDupe SG solution should particularly appeal to current resellers. As a company, Nexsan already has a solid reputation as a storage system provider, is experiencing steady growth and was on track to do an IPO last year before last fall’s stock market decline. But maybe more attractive to resellers, Nexsan sells 100% of its product through the channel.
The addition of DeDupe SG to Nexsan’s storage portfolio should also make Nexsan more interesting from a reseller perspective. Right now the sales cycles for selling deduplication systems is likely much shorter (and potentially more profitable) than production storage systems. As such, resellers can now lead with the DeDupe SG in customer accounts with a higher expectation of success of a sale in a shorter time period.
In terms of bringing the DeDupe SG to market, Nexsan smartly partnered with FalconStor. This negated the need for Nexsan to develop its own data deduplication software while leveraging the data deduplication software that FalconStor sells and has sold for some time. While Nexsan is only including FalconStor’s file server version of the software on the current DeDupe SG release, there is nothing to prevent it from bundling other FalconStor software at some point in the future.
Maybe the most important move Nexsan made was to bundle support for the DeDupe SG’s hardware and software. So if there is an issue with the appliance, all support calls go first and to Nexsan and then it manages the support of the issue regardless if it is the hardware or the software.
Nexsan also brings some features on the hardware side to the table that helps to differentiate it from being just a “me-too” storage solution on the backend. The “SG” in the “DeDupe SG” stands for “Speed with Green”. While other hardware solutions can also arguably deliver speed, the “green” aspect is what makes Nexsan’s part of this solution stand out.
High density and its AutoMAID feature are included on all of Nexsan’s storage systems. The high density feature keeps data center footprints to a minimum day one without compromising the reliability or integrity of the deduplicated data stored on them.
The AutoMAID feature comes into play since backups occur primarily at night and disk drives may be needed for only 8 hours a day or less. By turning on AutoMAID, drives can be spun down during off hours. This reduces power and cooling costs while extending the life of the disk drives in the Nexsan system.
Data Domain’s recent acquisition by EMC has left a void that a number of resellers are anxious to fill in their product portfolios. However rushing into a decision or making the wrong decision is regards to data deduplication is something they cannot afford either.
In that sense, the new co-branded DeDupe SG from Nexsan and FalconStor is clearly a “right time, right place” solution. Nexsan delivers a solution that has all of the characteristics of a “best-of-breed” solution without some of the typical drawbacks that accompany them. By bundling hardware, software and support and configuring the software in such a way that it meets the needs of the mid-market, the Nexsan DeDupe SG should be a logical choice for any reseller to consider on its short list as a data deduplication offering.