Nimble Storage arrives in Oz with eyes for NZ
New kid on the block is in for busy year building channel from the ground upBy Simon Eskow, Auckland | Friday, 28 September 2012
California based storage hardware provider Nimble has planted stakes in Australia, and has already begun talks with a reseller in New Zealand to start doing business.
And the four year old company is looking to position its ground-up, modular technology against incumbent players in a crowded field.
“Nimble is in the space of hybrid storage, driven by a general move in the marketplace, but it has done this from scratch, with a more modern architecture and ideas on how to structure the data, designed around Flash and high density disks,” says Gavin Cohen, the company’s APAC marketing director. “At the macro level, the big vendors like Netapp, EMC, and IBM are looking at ways of bolting Flash into their existing space.
Nimble’s strategy for Asia-Pacific is to build out from Australia and New Zealand. Cohen joined Nimble three months ago. Now with vice president Peter O’Connor and ANZ sales director Rob Barton on board, Nimble has a team in place with some ambitious goals, and perhaps a lesson in starting a channel from scratch.
“It’s already begun,” says O’Connor. “Gavin [Cohen] has been talking to prospects and partners in New Zealand. We hope to have the first partner signed with our first customer in the next few weeks.”
The trio is relying on their combined experience in storage hardware to build the company’s local channel. Cohen comes to the vendor from EMC, while Barton and O’Connor are former NetApp employees.
“We have a handle on who the channel partners are across Australia and New Zealand and it’s not unfamiliar territory,” says O’Connor. “I’ve spent plenty of time going back and forth to New Zealand and have a good handle on who the good infrastructure partners will be.”
O’Connor says the ideal reseller partner will be organisations with a specialty in server, netwokring and storage, working with customers in the SME space.
Nimble will not be partnering with a distributor. The trio state that the company ships its units directly from its factory with shipping times of under a week for ANZ. One of the talking points the company makes to resellers is that each unit sends status reports to company headquarters. A unit reaching capacity, or the potential failure of a drive automatically generates warning emails to the customer, their reseller or both.
“This lets the reseller add value, for example, when an alert comes in saying they will run out of capacity in a week, and the reseller can tell the customer to either stop putting data on the drive or let’s bring in a new disk shelf,” Cohen says. “Because of the turnaround time on a new order, the reseller can make money by being proactive.”
Nimble expects to appoint a distributor for New Zealand after business accelerates, and the company says it expects this will occur in roughly 18 months. The company says the advantage of going it alone is in passing bigger margins on to reseller partners of up to six to nine points.
Nimble provides technical support 24/7 from the US via toll free numbers in its local markets. Because of the frequent updates, and tech support training, help line agents have a full view of how the drives are running, and have technical training to support the customer.
All Nimble components are replaceable without downtime, and contain a passive controller to kick in within seconds if the active controller fails. This modular architecture built around Flash is intended to make the solution scaleable.
“A customer can buy our smallest, cheapest system from day one and as they grow, they can add more performance, with faster controllers, or more capacity with more shelves,” says Cohen.
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