Acal Storage Networking is to distribute Adaptec's full range of TCP/IP network interface card (NIC) and iSCSI host bus adaptor (HBA) products throughout the EMEA region.
The agreement is aimed at exploiting the potential for low-cost iSCSI storage area networks (Sans) within SME and enterprise workgroups.
Acal will become an Authorised Adaptec Distributor and provide first-line support to its resellers for iSCSI San design, integration, training and support.
Russ Johnson, Adaptec's European vice-president of sales and marketing, said rapidly increasing storage consolidation demands and higher compliance needs can be addressed very cost-effectively using iSCSI.
"There is a risk if the resellers don't understand the opportunity [from iSCSI]. Acal is uniquely placed to help VARs acquire the knowledge needed to deploy Sans. It has the technical capability, and a lot of resellers recognise this," he said.
Andrew Litherland, Acal's EMEA director, said the attraction for SMEs and workgroups is iSCSI's ability to use existing Ethernet and IP-based infrastructure, which also avoids retraining, reducing costs compared with Fibre Channel (FC) Sans.
"For the enterprise, FC is fine. But there's a huge amount of client-serving needed. FC and iSCSI will fit in harmony. So the question is, do you want the flexibility of iSCSI?" Litherland said.
Analyst IDC has predicted that annual shipments of iSCSI HBAs used in Sans will pass the two million mark by 2007, while Ethernet switches used in iSCSI Sans will grow at 342 per cent annually until 2007.
Although the biggest market is for Windows, Johnson said there is a growing opportunity for Linux, as well as Sun Solaris. Adaptec HBAs recently gained Microsoft certification.
For the past two years Acal has been explaining new technologies such as iSCSI to its customers.
"Now we can go back to them, ready to roll out products. It's here, so let's start deploying," Litherland said.
The two companies will run joint sales and marketing campaigns and seminars.
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