New business initiatives continue to develop at KODAK. The latest example: Kodak Service and Support will provide on-site support for Avere Systems' network-attached storage (NAS) solutions. It's the latest example of a big, legacy company pushing deeper into IT services. Here's the background.

Under terms of the agreement, Avere's global enterprise clients will have 24 x 7 support for their storage solutions. A client's data will be restored within four hours if there is a disruption, according to terms of the deal. This is particularly relevant for businesses using Avere's FXT Series scale-out NAS appliances. The support from Kodak is supposed to address two key issues for Avere enterprise clients: current support issues and support for continued growth.

According to Avere Vice President of Marketing Rebecca Thompson:

"We've been selling our storage solution in the market for about a 1 1/2 years and we started to hear a demand for hardware replacement." The demand was coming from two different sources:
  1. Avere's roughly 30 international VARs
  2. Avere's clients, which are medium-to-large enterprises in the life sciences, entertainment, oil & gas sectors, as well as any company that has high performance characteristics and for which a storage solution is critical.
"When there is a demand for hardware replacement, you can do two things," Thompson continued. "You can either develop your own hardware replacement line or you can contract it out." Avere has chosen to do the latter.

The support contract with Kodak is the only support deal Avere has signed with any company, and Thompson said it will remain so for the foreseeable future. Avere clients are not going to be forced to use the support service or work with Kodak. Thompson said the support is there if the client wants it.

Meanwhile, Kodak has been busy reinventing itself. Skeptics like Motley Fool continue to wonder if Kodak can survive in its present form. Still, Kodak insiders have been buying company stock -- suggesting that the executive team has faith in the turnaround plan. Back in April, Kodak said the company remains on track to achieve two key 2011 financial metrics:
  • Continue to build the scale of its four digital growth businesses – Consumer and Commercial Inkjet, Workflow Software & Services, and Packaging Solutions – and achieve greater than 40% aggregate revenue growth from these businesses.
  • Achieve positive cash generation before restructuring payments.
Will Kodak Service and Support wind up competing with some MSPs? Overall, we doubt it. But the Kodak-Avere relationship caught our attention, since it's the latest sign of a former blue chip company seeking to promote more IT services.

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