Storage vendor hopes encore performance gets better channel reception
Violin Systems, maker of flash storage for both large enterprises and SMBs, is once again looking to woo the channel with the rollout of a new partner program that promises the support, training, and deal- registration features partners need to grow and prosper in the competitive storage space.
The Lowdown: Violin’s new Partner First reseller program offers three tiers of membership: Premier, Authorized, and Registered. Members have access to online training and certification materials, updated price lists, deal registration, and customer-facing collateral through a dedicated partner portal. Resellers can earn margins through simplified sales opportunities and boost revenue by delivering certified services directly to their customers.
The Details: Among the key program benefits of Violin’s new 100 percent channel sales approach are:
• Guaranteed margin opportunities
• Complementary offerings to existing sales portfolio
• Increased marketing opportunities, including pre-funded marketing incentives, joint event participation, and lead-generation activities tailored to individual partners at all levels.
Violin also announced that channel veteran Tim Cullen will assume the newly created post of vice president of channel sales at the vendor. Cullen previously led global sales X-IO, which was acquired by Violin last October. Cullen will report to senior vice president of worldwide field operations, Rick Ruskin.
Background: The company now known as Violin Systems was founded in 2005 as Violin Memory, a maker of proprietary low-latency storage arrays.
The company introduced a major revamp of its partner program in March 2015 at a time when more than 70 percent of its wares were sold direct. Twenty months after that channel announcement, Violin Memory filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a failure attributed to management missteps and missed market opportunities.
The company re-emerged in early 2017 with a new name and an infusion of investment capital that was used, in part, to acquire X-IO. That acquisition brought Violin Systems a lower-tier SMB flash storage offering to complement its high-end portfolio.
The Buzz: “What we’re looking to do with our Partner First program is to round out resellers’ dance cards rather than compete for general-purpose storage mind share,” said Cullen. “When a customer needs consistent extreme performance as part of their enterprise data center environment, we expect that our partner will want to ask us to join them in delivering a solution. For other more general situations, we’re not going to get jealous if they partner with others; it’s a matter of the right solutions for the right workloads. Expand your opportunities, find the solution that makes the most sense, and reach new levels of profitability by having a full suite of offerings readily available.”
Partners generally applaud the new structure.
“All vendors that we work with offer some level of the same things, whether that’s training, marketing materials, SPIFs, or whatever,” said Craig Stein, founding partner at Mirazon. “But Violin takes the partner relationship to another level. First, with a guaranteed margin, I don’t have to play games to figure out how much I’m going to get paid. Second, they make the registration experience simple and quick with a simplified process on their portal. And, finally, they actually work with me in supporting our sales and marketing efforts in a team approach, helping ensure that the solution I’m providing to the customer works to satisfy their needs. I feel like I’m a valued partner that’s an extension of Violin, and not just a conduit to a sale.”
“Violin offers solutions that our general-purpose storage and general-purpose flash offerings don’t, which has opened up market opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have had,” said Jeff Podgorski, director of sales strategy and operations for KeeperTech. “For those workloads that need maximum application performance, Violin is able to step up and provide us with a solution that delivers consistent performance and low latency with enterprise-class data services. For other storage needs, I’m still able to offer other solutions in my sales catalog, giving me the opportunity to increase sales while keeping my customers satisfied.”
“With digital transformations, the demands of enterprise applications have changed the way most look at their infrastructure. The applications must adapt continuously and quickly to meet both current and future needs. You can never have too much speed or too much performance to handle all of the processing demands required,” said Brian Bream, CEO of Collier IT. “Violin actually offers an extreme performance that’s consistent over other flash solutions on the market today. Being able to partner with Violin to provide their solutions as an option for our clients means that we’re able to provide the necessary tools they need to satisfy business opportunities, grow their companies, and come back to us for additional solutions in the future.”