Brocade plans Middle East move

Storage area network (SAN) specialist Brocade plans to open a dedicated Middle East office in the next few months. Brocade reckons that its powerful set of OEM partnerships and channel initiatives can produce 60% year-on-year sales growth in the region for the next two years.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  March 8, 2005

Storage area network (SAN) specialist Brocade plans to open a dedicated Middle East office in the next few months. The fast-growing SAN solution specialist reckons that its powerful set of OEM partnerships and channel initiatives aimed at storage integrators can produce 60% year-on-year sales growth in the region for the next two years. Juan De Zulueta, Brocade director for EMEA South and Latin America, explained the rationale behind the vendor’s decision to ramp up its on-the-ground resource in the Middle East: “We are seeing very strong SAN adoption among Middle East customers. Large enterprises want to deploy a more flexible infrastructure that allows them to take advantage of concepts such as e-business on demand and adaptive enterprises.” Brocade SANs claim to offer customers a highly available and easily managed platform for storage applications. To drive sales of Brocade solutions, the vendor will work hard to educate both its OEM partners in the region, as well as the storage integrators and resellers that they in turn sell through. “The new office will open in Dubai at some point during the next few months,” continued Zulueta. “It will include dedicated resources to drive corporate sales in the region as well as technical staff. There will also be staff focused on running partner programmes and putting together appropriate bundles in the entry-level space.” Brocade boasts a powerful global network of 23 OEM partners including major storage and server vendors such as HP, IBM and EMC. “This is the strongest guarantee of interoperability when it comes to deploying Brocade in open systems,” added Zulueta. “We have built strong relationships with these three vendors in the Middle East during the past year, trained their sales staff and run specific campaigns aimed at medium and large accounts.” With the OEM partnerships in place, Brocade also plans to hammer home the SAN message to the storage integrators and resellers in the region — the channel partners of Brocade’s own OEM partners. “Brocade already works with integrators such as GBM, SBM and STME. These companies are the partners of our OEM partners, and that makes them our partners too. We do not want to cultivate a direct selling relationship to these partners, but we want to educate them and give them the skills to generate end-user demand,” continued Zulueta. Brocade reckons that Middle East SAN sales can soar as channel and end-user education increases. “We know exactly what needs to be done to bring a market to maturity,” concluded Zulueta. “It takes some time but this is what we call the white space opportunity. If we are the first to educate, first to bring the good news to the customer and explain how SAN can solve so many customer pain points, then we can take a strong market share.” Analysts at Gartner Dataquest reckon that the return on investment (ROI) argument is so compelling that up to 72% of the world’s external storage shipped will be SAN-attached in the next few years. NASDAQ-quoted Brocade has a market capitalisation of US$1.62bn. The SAN specialist, which was set up in 1995, posted global sales of US$612.8m for the year-ending January 2005.

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