EMC Centera channel charges ahead

Security analytics firm SenSage is the latest company to resell EMC's Centera archiving product, bringing the total number of resellers of this product to well over 100.

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Despite new entrants into the disk-based, fixed-content archiving market, EMC Corp.'s Centera system is holding its ground, resellers report.

Security analytics firm, SenSage Inc. is the latest company to resell Centera along with its security event logging software. The combined product, dubbed Compliance Bundle, records security events from network devices, security devices, applications and hosts, then compresses this data and stores it on Centera.

"There are more customer prospects with EMC Centera; it has a sizeable installed base with some of the top tier [companies] in security-savvy verticals like financial and government," said Scott Gordon, vice president of worldwide marketing at SenSage.

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Gordon said SenSage looked at Hewlett Packard Co. (HP), already a partner in another area, but found there to be more business opportunities with EMC.

EMC has over 100 resellers now selling Centera, which began shipping in April, 2002. "North of three quarters of Centera sales are through our independent software vendor partners or the channel," said Roy Sanford, vice president of content-addressed storage at EMC. He said demand for the product is increasing, and the company's channel partners appear to agree.

Logicalis Inc., an e-mail archiving reseller, has been selling Centera for about a year. "We've sold seven Centeras -- the majority in the last couple of quarters," said Eric Linxweiler, vice president of the e-mail archiving practice at Logicalis. The firm also sells IBM's DR550 compliance system and HP's RISS, but Centera outsells these products three to one, according to Linxweiler.

He said demand is coming from companies in a spot with compliance regulations. "We've heard of companies in litigation proceedings spending more on discovery than the actual lawsuit … they need a system for safely storing and retrieving data, and Centera fits that bill."

Similarly, Rick Filippo, North America sales manager at Unisys Corp., said that compliance is driving its Centera sales. "Especially in the financial services and government sectors that are replacing aging optical and tape systems," Filippo said. Unisys has sold well over 100 Centera systems and has been selling the product since it was introduced.

Both resellers noted that a smaller version of the system would be useful. "Centera's not the cheapest system out there, we are looking for EMC to come out with a product for under 500 users," Linxweiler said. EMC's cheapest Centera, the four-node configuration, offers 2.2 terabytes of usable capacity at $100,000, a 35% lower list price than the eight-node version.

As well as getting the price right, EMC also faces new entrants into the fixed-content archiving market besides its usual adversaries. Copan Systems Inc. and Nexsan Technologies Ltd. have just introduced new products and Sun Microsystems Inc. plans to sell two systems for archiving data. The Storage Technology Corp. product, IntelliStore, which is shipping today, and Honeycomb, which is still in development. IntelliStore is for long-term fixed content like Centera, whereas Honeycomb is expected to provide super fast search and retrieval capabilities but won't be such a high-capacity system, according to Sun officials.

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