Boulder CO-based SolidFire, which makes all-SSD storage systems designed for next generation data centers, has launched its first channel program, which is designed to recruit and support a fairly small group of elite channel partners.
SolidFire’s Cloud Builders Channel Partner Program represents a key change in the company’s go-to-market model.
“This is about diversifying our routes to market,” said Jay Prassl, SolidFire’s VP of Marketing. “We have sold directly to cloud service providers and we will continue to do so. It’s a core part of our business. But the channel is another route to market for us.”
SolidFire makes an all-solid state scale-out block storage platform, for companies building next generation datacenters.
“Many other solid state players simply want to replace disk with flash because it’s cheaper, but that doesn’t set you up with how people are competing long term,” Prassl said. “We deliver resources to internal customers that are more flexible, where resources are guaranteed but where things can be changed.”
Prassl said the Cloud Builder program was designed to reflect this differentiation.
“Enterprises want to take a cloud-like structure and put it inside their own firewall,” he said. “SolidFire is aligning with some of the best companies and resellers in this space who build these clouds. Planning, building and implementing – those three items capture the element of partners we seek out or who seek us out. Having the capabilities in those areas is what makes a partner the right fit for us.”
Prassl said that while some other flash vendors have larger channels, with a few having hundreds of partners, SolidFire has a different philosophy.
“We are deliberately looking to keep the program small,” he said. ”We will bring 10-15 partners to the table currently and in 2014 we will double that or maybe go a little beyond that. We will qualify our cloud builders very closely to make sure they have the expertise in OpenStack or other cloud management tools. It’s definitely not a come-one come-all program.”
The Cloud Builders Channel Partner Program is a single tier program, and SolidFire deals directly with its’ partners. Key benefits include deal registration to maintain margin, and alignment of SolidFire field resources through MDF and sales support.