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Product Viability at Core of Competing Successfully
Some industry experts are saying that never before has there been so much viable competition in the mid-market amongst storage vendors. And some storage vendors believe that this statement, in a sense, is true. “There are certainly a number of companies and technologies that wish to service this market as it moves away from direct-attached storage (DAS) to fabric-attached storage (FAS),” says Heumann.
“However, viability is a function of how well the technologies and products fit the needs of the customer,” he continues. Heumann illustrates this point with the example of how software-only iSCSI drivers would generally be ill-suited to high-performance database applications due to their inability to sustain high storage transaction rates or bandwidth.
Viability also means that products are easily integrated into a company’s existing IT practices. “If vendors simply sell low-cost variants of their enterprise storage products into this market, they will not meet the needs of these customers,” says Heumann. Rather, the products must be tailored to fit the way that medium-sized businesses use and manage storage now.
Heumann also says that these products must be offered as part of turnkey solutions that are fully integrated and tested to minimize the learning curve and risks to SMBs utilizing them for their storage needs.
Silva agrees and notes there are a lot more companies servicing the mid-tier market than ever before. “The larger storage vendors are moving their products "downstream" to service this market. There are a lot of smaller vendors with excellent solutions that already support the mid-market,” he says.
This is Part I of a two-part series. The next installment will answer the following questions:
- Is there a trend on the part of mid-size businesses to typically buy storage equipment from the same vendor that sold them their services? And, if so, is this helping storage vendors or hindering them?
- Are mid-size businesses going with vendors that have the “lion’s share of the sever market” simply because they have the “lion’s share” or because this is where they get the most bang for their buck?
- Do storage vendors need to understand storage architecture and preferred buying behaviors of mid-size businesses before developing their “go to market” strategies?"
- In mid-size businesses, does service and customer support rate highly in storage product selection? And how does reliability of the storage vendor and ease of doing business with that vendor rate in product selection?
- Cost savings is one of the many drivers for increased storage requirements in mid-size businesses; what are a few of the others?
- Gartner reported that in mid-size businesses, less than 10 percent of a company's IT staff typically have storage responsibilities. Are storage services a natural fit for these companies?
- In the case with other managed services, will mid-size businesses balk at the suggestion of third parties managing part of their infrastructure?