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The Mid-Range: An Untapped Storage Market

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Mid-size businesses need storage every bit as much as their big brothers, but is storage really viewed as a priority by these businesses in the same way that it is by large enterprises? At the same time, vendors looking to take advantage of growing backup and recovery needs in the mid-range are finding themselves in a buyer’s market in terms of these businesses being able to benefit from comparative shopping for storage solutions.

In a sense, says Mike Heumann, director of HBA marketing at Applied Micro Circuits (AMCC) , this results from two factors — one the result of an economy still in recovery and the second a result of the wide variety of storage vendors honing in on mid-size businesses as an untapped growth market. Additionally, there are many potential technologies (NAS, iSCSI SANs, Fibre Channel SANs, etc.) that are available to these customers as a means to fulfill their storage needs.

“When this occurs in a market, it usually means that there will be increased competition (and price declines) to go after the customer’s money,” says Heumann. “At the same time, it is imperative that customers critically look at their short-term and long-term storage needs, the strategic role that storage plays for their business, and their ability to tolerate risks in choosing a storage technology.”

Heumann also points out that some of the potential advantages Fibre Channel can provide to mid-size businesses are technological maturity, a well-developed supply base, and performance that provides headroom for businesses to grow into. “Those Fibre Channel SAN companies that can deliver these advantages in low-cost, easy-to-use products that really amplify the strategic value of storage to the customer will be successful in capturing this market,” he concludes.

According to Jeff Silva, vice president of MaXXan, more and more storage vendors are offering modular products tailored for scalable growth that fit well into a mid-size business. He also says that mid-size companies seem more willing to try storage products and solutions from second-tier vendors (e.g., not IBM, EMC, or StorageTek) since they do not have as much ‘entrenched’ infrastructure to deal with.

Page 2: Competition Heating Up in the Mid-Market

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