Sun is planning a local rollout of its new Data Management Group (DMG) by the end of the year in an attempt to manage the expanded product portfolio resulting from its acquisition of StorageTek.
Launched in the US last month, the group replaces Sun's Network Storage Group and will manage the vendor's disk, tape, and ILM solutions. It will also facilitate the transition of StorageTek's partners, according to Sun's director of partner sales, Michael May.
"The DMG will give StorageTek partners the opportunity to extend their engagement with our direct sales force and our customer base," he said.
Despite bringing two channels together to apparently target the same customer base, May insisted partner conflict would be minimal.
"About 70 per cent of StorageTek's partners are already Sun partners," he said. "The remainder will come onto our new Partner Advantage program to gain access to Sun's broader range, but we have discussed this with the StorageTek guys and we think there is very little room for conflict."
However, he admitted Sun was still uncertain where it would aim its 20 new mid- to high-end partners in search of greenfield business.
"We think there are opportunities in the health market and retail, but we haven't got down that far yet," he said. "Some [of these partners] are also comfortable selling at the volume end but don't yet have the skills at the enterprise level."
To address this, Sun would focus on partner training and skills assessment tests.
"We are focused on getting more partners certified and better engaged with our client solutions practice," he said. "Initially, we can take them on as delivery partners and as they become proficient in our solutions, they can then sell and support solutions themselves."
Once trained up, new partners could begin to target new areas of opportunity with Sun's wider product offerings, May said.
"Data management is only one aspect of our offering," he said. "Data centre, server and storage consolidation and areas like identity management are doing well for us. All these areas complement each other and create services and hardware pull-through."
With the additional partners onboard, Sun would also look to raise its current 60:40 indirect to direct sales mix in favour of the channel, May said.