Channelfusion founder Bruce Hockin has warned that time is running out for resellers to make money from legacy storage gear as his start-up distributor turns a year old.
Launched last May by Hockin and channel veteran Grant Reddin, channelfusion now has seven staff and works with a core group of about 25 storage and virtualisation resellers. Its key vendors include flash/hybrid specialist Fusion-io and I/O optimisation vendor Condusiv.
Hockin (pictured) admitted the storage landscape is shifting even more rapidly than he had anticipated when he opened the doors at channelfusion.
"It's a very transitional market and we have had to flex our plans in line with increasing demand for an alternative approach to storage," he said.
"It's been a very positive year for us. As a growing organisation, we are able to adapt to the market more quickly than our competitors."
The storage market has over the past 12 months been gate-crashed by noisy flash start-ups claiming to offer smaller, faster and more power-efficient arrays.
Hockin said the emergence of new outfits that can "dramatically reduce costs while solving the challenges of performance, scale and simplicity demanded by end users" will force resellers to make tough choices over vendor strategy.
"It's going to become increasingly difficult to win profitable business if you are pushing high-priced kit that lacks innovation, regardless of the FUD these vendors use to hang on to their market share," Hockin said.
"But don't expect the larger storage vendors to make a dramatic change of direction. They don't want to cannibalise their own revenues; they make an awful lot of money on upgrades and services. EMC can be applauded for at least thinking ahead, but their innovation comes from acquisition, so whilst they are bringing new technology to the market, it's not in a desperately coherent way."
He added: "Of course resellers should be evaluating the promise of new relationships, but first of all they need to understand what is changing and why, and work with a partner that can help them take advantage of it."
Hockin cited ServerSAN and Hyperconverged technologies as among the hot storage technologies making headway, alongside the all-flash and hybrid array outfits. Object storage has not taken off in line with expectations, although Hockin said this will change as more vendors adopt the technology to create more "integrated, scalable and efficient architectures".
"We are very much driven by the opportunity, and are building a portfolio accordingly," Hockin said, adding that channelfusion is set to add two new vendors in the coming quarter, bringing to market solutions in the software-defined and hyperscale, unified storage space.
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