TLAs (three-letter abbreviations) have now crept into every facet of our lives, and there’s one that is having a major impact on the IT channel.
It’s the early impact that ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) products are having on the way customers think about their data center hardware purchases, and as a result, how channel partners are now adjusting their sourcing and go-to-market strategies.
More and more end-users are looking for the same perceived savings that hyper-scale data center operators are enjoying from commercial OTS (Off-the-Shelf) components and appliances, and now midmarket enterprise customers are pressuring vendors and channel partners to receive the same cost benefit the big players get for servers, storage and networking gear. The result? Evolution all along the ecosystem:
- IT partners on our panel are actively sourcing white-box appliances and adding value through providing integration and support for hardware and software pieces.
- Large ODMs that used to build-to-spec for the big IT vendors are now trying to figure out how to reach a much broader market for their standard white-box products through the volume IT channel.
- One of the most innovative moves came from the vendor side just this month. SolidFire, the all-flash storage company recently acquired by NetApp, launched a new purchase and consumption option (FlashForward) that unbundles the purchase of storage O/S software capacity licenses from their hardware appliances. The hardware will be available JIT (Just-in-Time) to allow customers to scale their data centers based on need and is now priced aggressively to compete directly with OTS white-box appliances. (Lots of TLAs there.)
IMHO (OK, that’s really a four-letter abbreviation) all of these changes will take a while to sort themselves out, but ODM is here to stay, and the channel is in store for a few more "OMG" moments along the way.