Tech Data Inks Deal With Storage Accelerator Infinio

Lorna GareyStorage acceleration provider Infinio announced Tuesday a strategic agreement with Tech Data, making Infinio one of Tech Data’s Advanced Infrastructure Solution partners. This is Infinio’s first North American distribution deal.

“We’re pretty excited,” Bob Skelley, vice president of global channel at Infinio, told Channel Partners. “The relationship has huge potential for us, and we think for Tech Data as well.”

Infinio's Bob SkelleySkelley has been with Infinio since April; previously he was Dell’s executive director of North American channel sales. Before Dell, he was VP of channel strategy and operations for EqualLogic and Microsoft’s director of U.S. distribution and VAR channels. At Infinio, Skelley was charged with taking the company from mostly direct sales to having a mature channel program. He says that while that transformation “is ongoing,” Infinio is well on its way. The company has signed up almost 50 partners since April and is in the process of pulling a partner into all sales opportunities that the company uncovers. He expects the Tech Data deal to accelerate channel momentum.

While Skelley says he spoke with all the major distributors, Infinio wanted to select one disti partner to invest in, and he sees the Tech Data relationship being exclusive for the foreseeable future.

“Tech Data seemed like the best fit for us,” he says. “We’re not contractually bound, either of us, but we do have the intent of trying to make this work together.”

Infinio’s server-side storage acceleration software promises to deliver all-flash performance in VMware shops using a company’s existing storage hardware. It does that by creating a caching layer on servers, close to applications and running in RAM; read requests are served from that cache, with I/O performance that the company says is comparable to SSD arrays. Infinio says latency can be reduced by a factor of 10. Management is from a unified Accelerator Console, where administrators can choose which data stores to pull into cache, track performance statistics, adjust cache sizes and more.

Storage Is Officially Hot

The storage market has been undergoing something of a renaissance lately, between all-flash arrays, new software-defined storage, hyper-converged architectures and innovative ways to address secondary data stores. Earlier this month, a Tech Data exec jumped to SAN vendor Brocade.

In particular, Skelley sees the growth of cloud storage as good for his company.

“Several partners are looking at Infinio as part of their cloud offerings,” he says. A CSP could deploy the Infinio tech in its own data center to improve storage performance and/or resell it as a SaaS product, or an MSP could manage …

… multiple customers’ storage from a central console.

“We’ve structured our platform to adapt to those types of business models, which usually require monthly billing, per-seat licensing, a billing structure that happens in arrears — all the things that really work with a managed service and a software-as-a-service model.”

Another area he sees as good news for Infinio is the pending Dell/EMC deal.

“We’re complementary to both Dell and EMC,” says Skelley. “We’re a strategic partner with EMC, we feel like there’s an op to be a strategic partner with Dell. We work really nicely with the Dell server platform and EMC storage. Who knows what opportunity [a combined Dell/EMC] could open up for us to do reference architectures or things like that? It’s not competitive at all.”

Because the Infinio offering is software and can work with a customer’s existing storage infrastructure, it’s an easier sell for partners than competing products that require a hardware rip and replace, says Skelley. A partner could spend an hour doing a proof of concept and walk out with a signed deal.

“We put a program together that’s very profitable,” he says. “You don’t have to ship any hardware.” Customers can try before they buy, and so far, feedback from current partners on the technology has been positive.

“VARs like choice,” says Skelley. “Our partnership with Tech Data gives us more credit available via distribution, more sales resources, more training resources. We’ve got the Tech Data solution labs that we’ll be able to take advantage of, more access to live demos. All that helps us accelerate and expand faster.”

Infinio is exhibiting its solution and providing demos at Tech Data’s Insiders’ Exchange Conference, going on now in Palm Harbor, Florida. 

Follow editor in chief @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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