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EMC Heads Downmarket

EMC is taking a major swipe at the SMB market today, unveiling its Insignia product family of stripped-down enterprise software and hardware targeted at small and medium-sized businesses. But convincing users that EMC is a serious player in the low end may take some doing.

The Insignia range mainly comprises software: Included are scaled-down, cut-price versions of EMC's VisualSRM storage management product, its RepliStor replication software, and its eRoom offering. A new version of the Retrospect backup-and-recovery software EMC acquired when it bought Dantz is also part of the lineup, along with its existing AX100 storage array. (See EMC Dances With Dantz and EMC Cultivates Clariion.)

EMC is also recruiting a slew of SMB-specific channel partners, VARs, and resellers to sell these products to the masses, in an offshoot of the companys existing Velocity partner program. (See EMC Extends Partner Program and EMC Intros Partner Program.) “We have always been interested in moving downmarket,” says Don Chouinard, director of product marketing at EMC. “What we haven’t had is a family of products that’s going through a channel dedicated to SMBs."

The question is whether these efforts can help change EMC's image with smaller shops. At least one user remains unfazed by news of the campaign. Al Prendergast, CIO of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, told Byte and Switch that, despite all the EMC marketing spiel, he is unlikely to consider Insignia. “We perceive them as an enterprise player -- our storage needs are much less than that.”

Prendergast mostly uses storage gear from EMC partner Dell, which has done well reselling EMC gear to its server customers -- without making EMC an SMB conduit in its own right. (See Dell-Symantec: No Big Deal and Dude, Where's My PC?) In his view, EMC, particularly with its new SMB replication and backup software, is offering a level of sophistication he simply doesn’t need. “We still backup to tape,” he says. “We don’t do any NAS, we don’t do anything fancy.”

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