EMC Insignia – Serious SMB Storage

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There is little doubt that many small and mid-sized businesses have many of the same IT challenges faced by large enterprises. It is equally clear that companies of this size spend an enormous amount on IT. Little wonder then that many of the large IT vendors have been looking for ways to sell into this customer base. In the world of storage and storage management, EMC is one of the most easily recognised suppliers of storage solutions to enterprise customers. Recent developments in its product range, branding and partner programmes show that EMC means to become a major supplier to the SME market.

As an organisation known for supplying enterprise class storage solutions EMC has decided to aggressively promote its capabilities for SMB scale customers via the creation of the EMC Insignia Product Line. EMC Insignia will promote a range of software and hardware products designed to address a wide range of information management, data protection, data management and collaboration challenges facing SMB organisations.

These solutions will be delivered by EMC’s channel partners and the company has now also announced the creation of the EMC Velocity SMB Channel Program. EMC Velocity SMB is a worldwide channel program to support and reward partners offering EMC Insignia products to the SMB market.

Products in the EMC Insignia portfolio will need to meet a number of criteria. Central is a requirement that the products be capable of being installed and managed in a simple and straight forward fashion by end customers where they wish so to do. At the same time the products must carry a price that is deemed to be acceptable for SMB organisations whilst simultaneously they must be easy for EMC’s channel partners to sell and support.

These are certainly highly desirable characteristics for any solution to have but are absolutely essential in offerings targeting the SMB space, especially in areas such as storage, that is typically regarded as being complex and difficult to understand. Initial products included in the Insignia product line include the EMC CLARiiON AX100 storage platform along with EMC eRoom SMB Edition for collaboration. Software management offerings include EMC Storage Administrator for Exchange SMB Edition, EMC VisualSRM 1.7 SMB Edition and EMC VisualSRM SMB Edition. Data protection tools included in the Insignia product line at launch will be EMC RepliStor 6.1 SMB Edition and the well known EMC Retrospect 7.5. EMC Retrospect 7.5 is the latest version of data protection software from the company’s acquisition of Dantz and includes a number of valuable functionality and usability updates.

With the exception of EMC Retrospect 7.5 very few of the products that are included in the launch of EMC Insignia will be ‘familiar’ to SMB customers. The challenge for EMC is to be found not so much in building solutions that meet the needs of the SMB sector but in convincing this market that EMC has good offerings that are designed to meet their needs. EMC has been working to develop its offerings for the SMB market for some time and EMC Insignia could be the launch pad to make a significant impact in this competitive, but fragmented, sector. EMC has many products that will work for SMBs. We will now have to watch how well EMC can market itself to this sector and gain customers. I believe that EMC is very serious in its plans to win a considerable share of the SMB storage and storage management pie.