The Mid-Range: An Untapped Market, Part II Page 2
Continued from Page 1
Understanding the Needs of Mid-Range Firms
Another issue that seems to arise is whether or not storage vendors fully understand that before they develop their ‘go to’ market strategies for the mid-range, they need to understand both the storage architecture and the preferred buying behaviors of mid-size businesses. Lopez says that understanding the needs of the customer is the only way to tailor a solution to meet a customer’s requirements.
Heumann agrees but takes the issue one step further. “One thing we have seen over the past few years is that companies that try to force customers to adapt to ‘go-to-market’ models that are not what the customer is used to and that do not provide additional value over those the customer is used to are bound to fail.”
“Most mid-size companies do not have the sophisticated environments that large enterprises have, and many still rely on internal or direct-attached storage to satisfy their requirements because they are simpler to manage.”
Jeff Silva, MaXXan Systems
His contention is that SAN storage vendors that have historically serviced large enterprises will only be successful selling to mid-size businesses by adapting to existing mid-range business market delivery models, and by then augmenting them to add value.
On the architecture side, Heumann sees medium-sized businesses adopting ever more sophisticated IT tools to improve their productivity while also improving the efficiency of the tools that they already have. And many industry professionals believe that storage vendors can provide real value to these customers by showing them how new storage architectures can help them leverage these new capabilities while at the same time not introducing additional storage management workload.
This, says Heumann, requires storage vendors to understand the strengths and weaknesses of existing storage architectures for mid-range businesses so that the storage vendors can help provide
solutions to these issues, not just technologies and/or components.
Is Storage a ‘Natural Fit’ for Mid-Size Businesses?
A recent Gartner report stated that less than 10 percent of the IT staff in mid-sized firms have storage responsibilities. If this is in fact true, are storage services really a natural fit for mid-size companies? Lopez says that anything simplifying and helping to standardize the storage practices for mid-range businesses is going to be a plus, especially with a shrinking IT staff that has to take on more responsibility.
Silva says it really depends on the type of storage service. “Most mid-size companies do not have the sophisticated environments that large enterprises have, and many still rely on internal or direct-attached storage to satisfy their requirements because they are simpler to manage.” However, he adds that as they begin to implement network topologies for storage, they will look for the easiest way to do so.
“Some storage services in the form of consulting and education on SAN implementations or data protection, backup, and restoration would be necessary, but I don't think they would be willing to turn over outsourcing responsibility for managing their storage resources to a third party,” he concludes.
Page 3: Storage Drivers for the Mid-Range