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EMC 'rightsizes' its products for smaller shops

Jo Maitland, Senior Executive Editor

EMC Corp. unveiled new packages of its products today that it claims will better fit the requirements of smaller companies.

Small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) are facing the same growth of data and management pressures as enterprise organizations, but without the luxury of large IT staffs and budgets, and without much support from EMC, until more recently.

"Deployments have been over-procured -- they've been bigger than they need to be … We are rightsizing them to avoid

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over-provisioning," said Mike Wytenus, senior director of midsized enterprise marketing at EMC.

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This means pulling together products that make sense for different user requirements. EMC said it has applied configuration logic and wizards to its products to make them easier to use and to "properly size the right configuration for the customer," according to Wytenus.

Michael Boissiere, director of alliance marketing at reseller Dimension Data Plc., approves of the new approach. "Whereas previously this was a time-consuming, manual process, the wizard offers a set of standard questions -- the result of which can then be fine-tuned in order to accommodate specific client needs," he said.

It's worth noting that these new bundles are not set in stone, meaning that users can mix up and add applications where necessary. The prepackaged offerings are a starting point or guideline, according to EMC.

Richard Knight, vice president of professional services at AdvizeX Technologies LLC based in Independence, Ohio, is an EMC reseller and said he is glad the company is making it easier to sell its technology to smaller shops. "We've been talking to EMC about this for over a year," he said. "It opens up more discussions with users that would previously have been harder to reach."

Michael Fisch, director of storage and networking at The Clipper Group Inc., points out that it's easy to get wrapped up in product and specification details, when channel, pricing and how easy something is to buy are just as important criteria. "This announcement makes EMC's products more accessible to midmarket users," he said.

EMC's Express Solutions fall under four main umbrella topics today: networked storage, backup and recovery, archiving and business protection. Currently, these bundles support just one third-party application -- Microsoft Exchange -- but eventually others will be folded into the mix. "Databases like SQL Server are an obvious place for us to go next," Wytenus said. For a complete list of EMC's Express Solutions click here.

Competition

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) has been on a small business kick for some time, offering My First SAN and Easy as NAS bundles that include all the basic components to get into these environments. According to International Data Corp., HP leads on worldwide sales of hardware to the SMB market.

Pricing, financing and training

It goes without saying that EMC's bundles are not designed with third-party products in mind. Its Express Solutions are available from authorized EMC resellers with pricing starting at $5,995.

EMC is also introducing new financing options and online financial tools for its partners and authorized resellers. In April, the company will begin rolling out a partner program that provides a consistent set of training programs and incentives for all partners that offer EMC hardware, software and services.


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