Digital transformation making waves in storage

NetApp has uses its partner forum in Lisbon to encourage partners to move their business models forward

The digital transformation that is sweeping the industry is leaving no area untouched and the storage world is also finding that it needs to spend as much time talking about changing business models as it does promoting the latest innovation and technology.

Partners at the NetApp channel event in Lisbon have been encouraged to embrace flash and some of the latest solution offerings that the vendor has to offer and there is a slight sense of urgency about the need to react to the current market landscape.

Already about 30% of spending is coming from lines of business and not the traditional storage buyers and the firm expects that to continue to increase, going past 40% in the next couple of years.

Customers are keen to move from legacy storage systems to take advantage of options that will give them the chance to access data more quickly and gain more capacity. Thomas Ehrlich, vice president pathways & operations EMEA at NetApp described it as going from mode one to mode two.

Although some resellers are still able to make a living selling and supporting mode one products the future direction will involve customers moving to more up to date technology as part of a digital transformation and NetApp is keen to get its partners ready for that shift.

"Our partners have to consistently develop," said Ehrlich, "We have products for mode one and mode two but moving over between them is where I need the help."

"The partners are starting to understand the idea that the job of a VAR is not going away. The customers need a translation layer of how to go into the new world," he added.

Gos Hein van de Wouw, who runs the Northern region for NetApp, which includes the UK & Ireland, said that the traditional client server data centre environments were still important but there were some technology shifts, like flash, that were helping customers drive efficiency.

He said that to encourage the channel to get behind the latest products it had been running programmes and those had delivered a positive impact and in the case of the its ONTAP migration transition programme it has extended that scheme to the end of the year.

"Some partners are still in the definition stage of forming a strategy, some have pilots and some are further and are in production and others are making decent money from it but all of them are certainly on a roadmap," he said.

"The ones that will survive they understand the business model is as qually important as the technology," he added.

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