RAID Moves Into the Mainstream
For many of Dade Behring's customers, next-day delivery is not good enough. The $1.3 billion laboratory instrument manufacturer often has to ensure same-day delivery. Integrating technologies with its new SAP system helps Dade Behring deliver the goods on time.
While at Comdex, a number of people involved with RAID (redundant array of independent disks) technology saw one clear pattern emerge. Everyone believes that RAID is ready to expand into mid-range and possibly low-end storage applications.
A RAID system consists of two or more hard drives working together to improve data recovery time and to provide various levels of fault tolerance. Generally, information is "striped" across multiple drives to prevent loss of data in the event of the failure of any particular drive.
Sam Sirisena, v.p. of sales and marketing for Promise Technology, believes that the maturation of storage systems in general will result in an evolution that brings RAID into the hands of more and more users. This, in turn, will provide opportunities for VARs. "With each passing year, the average user can purchase better technology with higher capacities for essentially the same price," he said. "This has allowed more and more users to enter the RAID space. Therefore, I believe RAID units will continue to move into the mid-range and even into the low end in some cases. The distribution of these RAID systems will move through the channel, presenting opportunities for VARs to add value."
Promise Technology provides storage solutions that improve system performance, including IDE storage, subsystems, and performance peripherals. Its products include EIDE and ATAPI controller and storage performance peripheral solutions. The privately held company is located in San Jose, CA.
Bob Liberatore, president of Raidtec, agrees with Siresena. In terms of adding value, Liberatore believes that the opportunity to add value to such components as desktop PCs and servers is gone. "These items have moved into the reseller stage," he said. "RAID, however, presents more opportunities for VARs to add value. And the opportunity to add value means higher margins for VARs."
Raidtec designs, manufactures, and distributes a full range of SCSI, FC-AL (Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop) and Network Attached RAID (redundant array of independent disks) storage solutions for workgroups and enterprise wide applications. The private company is located in Alpharetta, GA.
Liberatore believes that the channel will become active due to the current trend toward creating "best of breed" storage systems. "Best of breed" simply means that, in an open-systems environment, different vendors provide the various components of a storage system. Liberatore believes that users seeking ‘best of breed' will be forced to move through the channel rather than buying all components from a single vendor. He believes that this trend will place VARs in a strong position to add value to products as they move through the channel. As a result of these forces, Liberatore believes the channel will become stronger and stronger. "VARs should be in a strong position to put these ‘best of breed' systems together," he said.
In closing, Liberatore stressed the role of proactive agents within the channel, "Proactive agents are crucial to the success of this model. We need agents in the channel who are not content to sit and wait for new technology to be developed. Instead, these agents need to be communicating with customers in order to understand customer needs. The agents can then begin to drive the development of the technology. This will make the process more efficient."