Storage technology is changing – both in its very nature, and the way it will need to be sold in the future. This is resulting in a significant increase in the number of enterprises adopting flash storage as they witness the benefits it offers over traditional hardware.
Rather than being seen as a threat to traditional revenue streams for resellers of conventional storage hardware, this represents a completely fresh opportunity for intelligent resellers.
Part of the reason behind this demand is the ever-growing ubiquity of virtualisation, and the move towards shared, automated cloud infrastructures. Genuine scale-out storage that can tightly define performance and capacity independently will be an essential building block in the new breed of data centre. Storage isn’t the commodity it arguably once was, and that’s a big opportunity for the channel.
To take this path with customers, it’s important to fully understand why the new rules of storage deserve attention. Here, I’ve recommended three key starting points that should make that value clear, and help resellers increase revenue by providing enterprise customers with high value, quality solutions.
1. Storage-specific challenges: overcoming the "noisy neighbour" effect
Multi-tenant cloud setups run thousands of applications simultaneously. The result is that it’s not uncommon for one tenant to unsettle everyone else’s performance by monopolising resources. These “noisy neighbours” can hamper performance and predictability, and have long been a criticism of virtualised storage.
They’re also completely avoidable, but this requires a smart design approach that just isn’t standard. This creates an opportunity for savvy channel resellers to provide customers with storage solutions that excel in the areas that really count.
2. Slow and steady wins the race: become a trusted partner and build a long-term relationship
Historically, many storage challenges have been solved simply by throwing huge amounts of extra capacity at the problem. In many respects this is ideal for the channel, offering a chance to shift a high number of units. In practice, however, it’s an enormously inefficient and short-termist way to confront the issue.
The more advanced generation of solutions arriving on the market typify the opportunity for resellers to offer more value with a smarter product, rather than just by selling as much hardware as possible. This is about making a strong strategic recommendation. It’s here that a huge opportunity lies to become a trusted partner, rather than a provider of more ‘tin’.
Ultimately, there’s no happier customer than the one whose reseller is actually providing a better product or service without suggesting they simply buy twice as much stock.
3. Enlighten customers in the cloud
Any technology setup has to deal with bottlenecks. But when it comes to setting up a cloud or virtualised environment, these are often in storage, as the performance gap between storage, computing power and networking can be an order of magnitude. Your whole system can only be as good as its weakest link. Therefore, storage becomes a critical area to address and make big improvements.
The degree of this improvement can be enormous and valuable for all parties. The reality however is that this is not just about speed, but about getting a storage solution that can be integrated effectively. One of the primary failings of traditional storage in addressing the needs of the next generation data centre is a profound lack of integration and automation capabilities. These tools are so essential to the future of the data centre that many dedicated cloud service providers feel that they cannot architect the systems that they need with legacy storage.
This is an active opportunity to advise customers on not just the best components for their problem, but strategically where they can really put their performance in another league. By talking at this level, this is an enormous and compelling opportunity for resellers to reshape their relationship.
The time is now for storage in the channel
These three elements combine to create a revenue opportunity that isn’t just based around upsell or smart packaging, it’s simply meeting the new standard of the next generation datacentre. Treated properly, such a natural fit helps customers make better choices that will support business growth for a long time to come. But without the insight of the channel, many may miss the boat.
Becoming a trusted and strategic channel partner starts with providing these kinds of insights. It can be a key step toward deeper, longer relationships with customers as well as higher value ones.
Image source: Shutterstock