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Panasas, Promark pursue scale-out NAS storage market

In the scale-out NAS market, Panasas is partnering with Ingram Micro's Promark value-added distributor subsidiary to boost government and commercial channel sales.

The recently announced agreement between storage technology provider Panasas and value-added distributor Promark Technology shines a light on what it takes to create a go-to-market strategy for the high-performance storage market.

Panasas, a provider of scale-out network-attached storage (NAS), has sets it sights on deepening its technology footprint among federal government customers. To do this, Panasas, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., has extended its partnership with Ingram Micro Inc., signing an agreement with the distributor's storage-focused Promark subsidiary. Promark holds state and federal government contract vehicles such as the General Services Administration schedule.

Under the Panasas-Promark go-to-market strategy, Promark, based in Annapolis Junction, Md., will promote Panasas' ActiveStor scale-out NAS storage product line to its network of value-added resellers (VARs). Additionally, as part of the Panasas Accelerate Program's ''Sky's the Limit'' policy, Panasas will award a 5% rebate to all VARs for new end-user account deals they close.

Technology attraction

Dale Foster, general manager and executive director of Promark, said Panasas' technology is what attracted Promark to the scale-out NAS storage vendor

Specifically, ActiveStor incorporates flash and SATA storage nodes with Intel compute, a Distributed File System and client protocols, according to Panasas. The ActiveStor storage appliances target high-performance computing environments such as academic research, as well as enterprise workloads such as big data.

''Where Panasas fits well with us is that they are a flash scale-out NAS, and in the NAS market I have very few products that actually fit there,'' Foster said. ''Their technology is used in the high performance computing space and that fits well with our customer base, as well as our government and federal systems integrators.''

As Panasas develops its own channel strategy, the scale-out NAS storage vendor's deal with Promark reinforces much of the key partnering elements the company has pushed during the last two years. Those elements include attracting new VARs while helping existing channel partners; opening new market opportunities, particularly in federal data centers; and offering companies rebates that they can reinvest in their business.

We're hoping Promark's folks will identify federal customers and educate them on Panasas' technology.
Dave Saunderspresident and CEO, TVAR Solutions

''We are doubling down on the bets we are making in terms of the markets that we want to go after,'' said Philip Crocker, senior director of channel marketing and sales enablement at Panasas. ''Promark knows how to take companies like Panasas and grow them very rapidly. They know how to generate sales, they offer a very responsive service, they conduct joint field-based demand generation operations and they help to create the pull in the market for everybody.'' 

Crocker noted that while Promark was pitched to him by Ingram Micro executives as a distributor with a sizable federal government business, equally important is Promark's commercial clients. Those commercial customers will open opportunities for Panasas channel partners among data centers serving the manufacturing, life sciences and the media and entertainment vertical market segments.

Closing more deals

Dave Saunders, president and CEO of TVAR Solutions, said he hopes Panasas' distribution deal with Promark will help TVAR, a McLean, Va., company that provides IT products and services to federal customers, close more deals and gain added rebate checks. TVAR last year calculated that federal bookings related to the Panasas scale-out NAS storage product line grew by 300% since 2014.

Saunders noted that Panasas' high-performance computing technology is a good fit for a number of use cases where data is not only being stored but used for big data projects at research labs at the National Institutes of Health and intelligence agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. He also cited big data projects involving data generated from military satellite imagery and drone video feeds. 

"There's a lot of competitive replacement business out there," Saunders said. "It's complex technology and Promark, as a division of Ingram Micro, has name recognition in specific niches of the federal government. We're hoping Promark's folks will identify federal customers and educate them on Panasas' technology. That will help us identify customers and bring deals to the table."

Next Steps

Find out more about Panasas' drive technology

Read an industry analyst's take on scale-out NAS storage and object storage

Learn about Promark's work with Dell on the GSA schedule

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