DALLAS -- QLogic Corp. unveiled several new high-end switches and host bus adapters (HBAs) at its Fusion 2006 worldwide partner conference in Dallas this week, receiving applause from around 400 or more channel partners.
By and large, QLogic's resellers are pleased that the company is filling in the gaps in its portfolio for high-end SANs, but they are concerned that the firm steps up its support in conjunction with the availability of these more technical products.
"This is very heavy, technical stuff," said Werner Habicht, director of sales for Zeta Computer in Germany, referring to the new SANbox 6000 storage router and SANbox 8000 storage services platform. "It's not just components that we can just sell it and forget, the dream of every reseller, now we really have to explain to the customer why they need it, and it's way more complicated than what we've been selling before."
New products introduced at Fusion 2006 include the SANbox 5000 96-port stackable switch, SANbox 6000 Intelligent Storage Router, SANbox 8000 Storage Services Platform (from the Troika acquisition), SANbox 9000 multi-layer, multi-protocol switch and InfiniPath InfiniBand HBA (from the Pathscale acquisition).
"It's great to see them move into the core," said Edward Mann, senior storage architect with Vion Corp., a reseller focused on the federal government. "People don't want different core and edge switches." He said he believes QLogic has a perception issue in the marketplace to overcome as customers only associate the company with low-end switches. Vion recently tried to sell QLogic's 20-port, 4 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) switch to a customer, but they weren't interested. Instead, Vion sold them the Cisco System Inc. MDS 9020, which is an OEM version of the exact same product from QLogic. "It has the Cisco logo on it and that made the customer feel good," Mann said.
To sell into large-scale deployments, Mann said he agrees that QLogic must staff up its training and support, and on the technical side support FICON. "That's very important to our users," he added.
Apple Corp. reseller ProMax Systems Inc. is "after all the help [it] can get" on the support side, according to president and CEO Daniel Hatch. ProMax sells QLogic switches alongside Apple equipment to the video industry to customers, including Disney, Warner Bros. and Fox Broadcasting Co. "We need high performance, whatever the latest speeds and feeds are, and we need 24/7 services and remote support," Hatch said.
QLogic's vice president of marketing, Frank Berry, notes that the company recently signed a global services and support agreement with Lucent Technologies (now owned by Alcatel). "If you send an email in French, you get a reply in French." He added that every major OEM is now selling QLogic switches, which will help with the perception issues in the market.
SANbox 8000 attaches to the SAN as an end node (N-Port), which enables it to remain SAN (and SAN vendor) independent, QLogic said.