The role of the channel is rising

Although it varies depending on what type of storage product you're talking about, the majority of storage purchases go through the channel (mostly VARs and systems/storage integrators). And the role of resellers and integrators is expected to increase.

An International Data Corp. study shows that for complex storage acquisitions such as SANs, users prefer to buy direct from vendors (which may explain why the majority of SANs are still homogeneous). But for less-complicated purchases-such as tape, NAS, DAS, and storage management software-the channel plays a more important role (see bar chart).

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Another IDC survey of the small to medium-sized business (SMB) market reveals future trends in end users' buying plans through the channel. Not surprisingly, the role of retailers is diminishing while the role of the Internet is increasing. However, it's important to note that in the SMB market the role of the channel continues to rise.

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For example, in the past, 36.6% of medium-sized businesses relied primarily on VARs for storage acquisitions-a number that is expected to increase to 41% in the future. Similarly, 4% of medium-sized businesses relied on systems integrators in the past, while 11.2% will rely primarily on integrators in the future (see table).

Figures like these are important to us because InfoStor is the only storage publication that focuses on both end users and the channel. Although some articles may be targeted more to users and other articles more to the channel, we always try to address both groups.

In contrast, other storage publications target users or the channel. Not surprisingly, we think our approach is better, for a number of reasons. For one, end users and the channel work together, and their informational requirements are very similar.

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InfoStor's circulation consists of 53.4% end users and 46.6% channel professionals (mostly VARs and integrators). We will continue to focus on both groups in order to serve our unique circulation of more than 38,000 storage professionals (138,000 if you include InfoStor Europe and the recently launched InfoStor China).

Dave Simpson

This article was originally published on December 01, 2004