Brocade hits back at McData accusations

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Storage vendor Brocade has hit back at claims by rival McData that the former plans to withdraw resources from its channel and de-emphasise sales to medium business in Australia.

Storage vendor Brocade has hit back at claims by rival McData that the former plans to withdraw resources from its channel and de-emphasise sales to medium business in Australia.

Paul Rath, vice-president of US-based McData in the Asia-Pacific, said Brocade was cutting back its channel. As it moved more into the OEM and director switch space, it was de-emphasising the mid-market, Rath said.

However, Graham Schultz, OEM partner manager for Brocade Australia and New Zealand, said the claims were rubbish.

'Our go-to-market is through our partners. Why would we pull out of that market? I don't know where that came from but he is seriously misinformed,' Schultz said.

While it was true that Brocade had diversified into the director switch-focused enterprise space, no resources had been cut from its mid-market and indirect channel business, he said.

Brocade worked through its 23 OEM partners such as IBM and HP and VAD Lynx. Through Lynx, Brocade had signed some Elite and Premier partners but those partner numbers had not been reduced, he said.

McData is in the process of signing several Australian system integrators, a factor which Rath claims proves its dedication and value to the channel here.

Brocade's Schultz was not so convinced and pointed out that McData has recently begun forays into the mid-market –- a sector in which Brocade claims 64 percent market share.

'Our go-to-market has always supported our OEM partners and distribution. And I think McData's reason for doing this is because they are not getting the support from the distribution channel that they could get, so they have to go out and do their own channel strategy,' Schultz said.

Brocade had recently laid off 100 staff, mostly in North America. No staff had been laid off in Australia. While it was likely that those staff included some who targeted the mid-range, that was only because that was Brocade's specialist area, he said.

He said Brocade had not lost any market share in the mid-market space. If anything, it had gained percentage points. There was no strategy to de-emphasise the mid-market, Schultz said.

Any market share McData had gained, as a relatively recent entrant in the mid-market space, would have been gained at the expense of other competitors, such as Q Logic, rather than Brocade, he said.

McData's Rath had further claimed that Brocade did not offer as much of a 'total solution' for the mid-market as McData.

Schultz similarly poured scorn on that claim. 'It surprises me, when we're selling more than three times what McData is selling in that space,' he said. 'We're expanding dramatically our offerings in that space.'

Schultz said Brocade had introduced new switches targeting the mid-range, and embedded switches in disk arrays for its OEM partners. McData did not have such an offering, he pointed out.
 
McData's Rath confirmed that McData was angling to take on Brocade in the medium business space in Australia. It was true that McData had previously been focused on the high-end.

However, it believed there was more opportunity in smaller businesses, particularly in the Asia-Pacific, he said.

'We are deliberately moving from the high end to SMB businesses with a worldwide plan to grow our company. Brocade, they're doing the reverse,' Rath claimed. 'However, we've got a long way to go to compete with Brocade, because I believe they are the incumbent here.'

He said that Brocade was 'removing resources' from its channel in the Asia-Pacific to concentrate on its OEM partners.

IDC figures suggested that Brocade has 55 percent of the global storage market, McData 35 to 40 percent, and Cisco 10 percent, he said.

'There's a battle going on between Cisco, McData and Brocade,' Rath said.

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