Offering A Complete Solution: Storage Var Builds Storage Services VAR

April 29th, 2013
Offering A Complete Solution: Storage Var Builds Storage Ser...

Storage-focused solution provider H. A. Storage has formed a new organization to handle the services side of the storage business, thereby splitting the integration and the services parts of its business while expanding its customer -- and channel partner -- reach.

The new organization, H. A. Services, was founded late last year as a way of focusing on the services side of the storage business of small and midsize customers, said Chris Black, CIO of the Audubon, Pa.-based company.

That gives H. A. Services a new business model and potential customer and partner base different from that of its sister company, Chanhassen, Minn.-based H. A. Storage Systems, while at the same time making it easy for both companies to rely on each other, Black said.

"Most organizations can own their own production storage environment," he said. "So they work with H. A. Storage to put in their NetApp and EMC infrastructures. But most of them can't afford to buy two storage infrastructures. Or, if they buy two, the second sits across the aisle from the first because the company can't afford a second location."

Randy Kirsch, vice president of H. A. Storage, said that while H. A. Services was founded with investment from his company, the two are separate entities. H. A. Storage is an S corporation, while H. A. Security is an limited liability company (LLC), he said.

"The storage side of the business we know well," Kirsch said. "But it's a totally different sales mindset with the services side. And, by keeping them separate, it's easier to bring on other partners."

"A great part of the H. A. Storage and H. A. Services partnership is that the H. A. Storage engineers who implement the NetApp and EMC storage are also familiar with the replication target side and our capabilities," Black said. "They don't just say, 'Here's a target, and we're done.'"

Another advantage of moving the replication infrastructure to a separate company is that it opens the business to other solution providers, Black said.

"The H. A. Storage installed base is the low-hanging fruit," he said. "We're already working with other integrators."

H. A. Services currently has a FlexPod converged infrastructure based on NetApp and Cisco technology it uses as a replication target for business users with a NetApp infrastructure, Black said. By June, it will have a second FlexPod infrastructure set up about 70 miles north of its current location for archiving or redundant protection.

H. A. Services' road map also includes the building of an EMC-based storage infrastructure, possibly one based on the joint EMC-Cisco VSPEX reference architecture, by year-end, H. A. Services' Black said.

The infrastructure is owned by H. A. Services, Black said. "We're not reselling an Amazon or other cloud solution. This is great for companies looking for a true SLA [service-level agreement] they can't get from a public cloud."

Sometime next year, H. A. Services also plans to replicate its infrastructure in Denver and somewhere in Texas, perhaps in Austin, he said.

One of the big advantages of setting up a separate company to handle customers' replication services is that it significantly cuts the time to market, H. A. Storage Systems' Kirsch said.

"We looked at doing this ourselves about a year before," he said. "But it would have been harder to do without the help of Chris and others in his company who had worked with cloud services in the past. With them coming on board and knowing what's coming up, it was much more easy."

That works both ways, Black said.

"From an implementation and design side, having H. A. Storage engineering made this a lot easier for us," he said.

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