Quantum: Hype confusing Asian storage market

A state of misunderstanding currently exists in Asia's storage market that the industry itself is responsible for, according to Quantum's Asia-Pacific storage chief.

Quantum has implemented recent changes to the way its Data Protections Division tackles Asia's storage market, with notable changes to its strategy for China. Going forward the company's central aim to undo the confusion in the market place that surrounds the relative benefits of different types of storage technology.

"The hype machine last year, like the whole NAS (Network Attached Storage) versus SAN (Storage Area Network) debate, did more harm than good. I think it put some people on guard. Customers may have been overloaded with information and hype, when what they needed was basic guidance about how storage works," said Simon Harvey, managing director of Quantum Data Protection Division, Asia-Pacific.

Harvey is now working with other vendors in China to increase the overall storage market's size and is engaged in an ongoing string of marketing events, seminars and road shows to achieve this aim. Harvey is happy to work with competitors in joint events because all parties can pool their pulling power, and because, he says, all vendors recognize that growing the market should be their prime concern.

China: unite and conquer

With the vendors offering a seemingly unified front for their marketing efforts, the competitive spirit is being concentrated on the channel partners, Harvey says.

Quantum is currently investing heavily in training its China partners and making routine partner visits to steer their work and meet with their local contacts. While on the face of it Quantum is working with other vendors to spread the message of better efficiency through storage, the company is working hard behind the scenes to sharpen its partner's effectiveness and to close sales. The competition is in managing these relationships, Harvey said.

Quantum, though, came to the China market after its key competitors, and as Harvey admitted, its entry may have precluded the company from acquiring the prime channels.

But he dismissed the notion that Quantum's entry was late, for the company entered the market as soon as it could do so with back-end support. "There is little point selling a tape library if you lack the logistics, technical support and infrastructure to service the sale," as Harvey put it.

Also as part of its focusing, the vendor has also brought together its Hong Kong, Taiwan and PRC operations under the banner Greater China with headquarters in Beijing. This has been achieved in the last three months. The company's first disk storage device has also just been shipped, the Quantum DX30, the first in the Adaptive Disk Array Management (ADAM) family of products expected from the vendor. Quantum is billing the DX30 as faster than current disk-to-disk storage backup systems, but the company did not provide figures as to exactly how fast the DX30 backs up data.

Tape storage came under scrutiny over the last year as the falling price of disk storage threatened to cut into tape's share of the data storage market. Harvey says Quantum now sees disk storage as the backup technology of choice while tape will remain competitive as a cheaper archiving technology for some years to come.

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