EMC aims to extend SMB reach in AP

The company launches latest entry-level products in the Asia-Pacific region, and counts on channel partners to make its strategy work.

SINGAPORE--Storage giant EMC is beefing up its assault on the lucrative small and midsize businesses (SMB) in the Asia-Pacific market, aiming to roll out its new line of storage products in the region by the end of the year.

During the local launch of EMC Insignia last week, Joel Schwartz, the company's senior vice president and general manager of midrange systems division, said the SMB market in Asia will be a priority for EMC. Insignia is the vendor's range of storage hardware and software that are targeted at SMBs.

EMC classifies SMBs as companies which generate up to US$25 million in revenues per year, and estimates that this market grew 12 percent worldwide last year. In comparison, large enterprises--with revenues of US$100 million and above--grew at only 7.5 percent in 2005, according to EMC.

The vendors is targeting the entry-level storage system market with its Insignia products. For the midrange market, it offers the Clariion CX and has roped in Dell Computer as a reseller for this product range.

Research company IDC has forecasted the external storage midrange market in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, to be worth US$1.34 billion in 2010, and the entry-level segment to be worth US$619 million. Comparatively, the high-end systems market is estimated to be worth US$732 million by 2010.

With the Insignia range, EMC hopes to make deeper inroads into the region's entry-level storage market, said Schwartz, adding that the company's strategy is to partner with more resellers and channels to market Insignia, as well as be "price-competitive".

"This [market] is definitely a channel play," he said. "We're not hiring any sales people [at all for Insignia products]."

Schwartz also pointed out that while big vendors such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM, are eyeing the SMB segment as well, there are also "a lot of unbranded stuff" in this product range targeted at small businesses. "This market is a land grab," he said.

According to Verdayne Nunis, spokesperson for EMC Asia South, Singapore is the first market in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan, in which the vendor has made the Insignia range available. The company will roll out Insignia to the other markets in the region before the year-end, she added.

In 2005, EMC--together with Dell-- had only less than 2 percent of the Asia-Pacific market, excluding Japan, while it had a 37.5 percent market share of the region's midrange market, inclusive of the co-branded systems it resells with Dell. EMC commanded 38 percent of the high-end external storage segment in the Asia-Pacific region last year.

At the product launch, EMC unveiled the new Clariion AX150--an upgrade from the previous Clariion AX100--which scales from 750GB to 6TB in capacity, is available either with fiber channel or iSCSI connectivity, and supports Windows, Linux, NetWare and Solaris platforms.

The hardware product offerings will be bundled with a range of software tools, including the EMC Retrospect, a backup and recovery software; EMC RepliStor SMB Edition, a data replication software; EMC VisualSRM SMB edition, a storage resource management product, and EMC eRoom SMB Edition, a secured collaborative workspace software.

Pricing starts from US$5,600 for Clariion AX150, US$299 for Retrospect, US$995 per node for RepliStor SMB Edition, US$995 for VisualSRM SMB Edition, and US$995 per 10 users for eRoom SMB Edition.