Bringing a new solution to what is an already rapidly changing market, with endless vendors offering different solutions, is no easy task.
This task is compounded when the solution is from a relatively new company with little or no traction, and when the solution it offers is thought of as being a "disruptive technology", due to the fact that it changes the way businesses run their day-to-day operations.
That said, this was the task Christo Briedenhann took on as regional director of South Africa and Africa at SimpliVity. "When I signed up with SimpliVity, I knew the road ahead was going to be a tough one, but at the same time, realised that with the correct relationships and partners in place, it would start gaining traction," says Briedenhann.
Briedenhann believes having partners that understand the product, and have the resources and the drive to push the solution in the market, are critical. It was for this reason that he chose Networks Unlimited as the sole value-added distributor for the SimpliVity OmniCube solution in Africa.
"I first started working with Networks Unlimited when I was working at Riverbed and they were instrumental in helping me get the company to where it is today.
It was for this reason and their vast knowledge of the storage, server and network market that I brought them on board to introduce the OmniCube to key resellers," he says.
"When Briedenhann demonstrated the SimpliVity OmniCube solution to me, I immediately saw its potential, but also saw how disruptive this technology would be to current business processes," says Anton Jacobsz, MD for Networks Unlimited.
SimpliVity´s solution is the revolutionary hyperconverged OmniCube – a scalable, economical, 2U building block using an x86 server platform that offers all the enterprise functionality of traditional IT infrastructures in one device. The OmniCube is a combined, all-in-one, IT infrastructure platform that includes storage, compute, networking, hypervisor, providing inline deduplication, compression and optimisation at inception, once and forever, along with powerful data management, data protection, and disaster recovery capabilities. No other product can do this.
This means a business´ current data centre can effectively be shrunk down to one device, with a person skilled in the VMware environment being able to control everything.
"Many of the resellers that Networks Unlimited works with already have longstanding relationships with the likes of HP and EMC, and so selling a competing solution like SimpliVity´s will be difficult for them," Briedenhann says.
In addition, the resellers have to have the skills and the ability to push the solution to the end-users. "Each reseller first has to go through an online training programme and then a two-day technical training course before they become a certified SimpliVity reseller," comments Jacobsz.
At the moment, Networks Unlimited has appointed, among others, Dimension Data, EOH, Datacentrix and T-Systems to distribute SimpliVity OmniCube. But, says Jacobsz: "These companies deal predominantly in the enterprise space and the OmniCube solution is designed to suit both large and medium businesses."
In the two months that SimpliVity has been active in SA, over 15 partners have signed on to take the OmniCube solution to the end-user, and 28 engineers have been certified. "We have signed on a few smaller resellers to take the solution to the mid-market, but we have no idea how big the SimpliVity business will become in the next few months," says Jacobsz.
But, judging from partners like Xepa Consulting, a smaller reseller that signed on just over a month ago, which has five deals in the pipeline and is about to sign its first, it looks like SimpliVity OmniCube is going to become a very large business.