Avnet goes beyond distribution with Scale deal

Avnet just signed Scale Computing – a data storage start-up targeting mid-size and small businesses – to fill a gap in its storage strategy. For Scale, this is its first distribution deal in North America.

What’s more interesting, however, is that this is more than a distribution deal – it’s a relationship that perhaps we’ll start seeing more of in the channel as disties look to add more value to their model. Not only will Avnet distribute Scale’s solution, but the distie will also work with the data storage start-up on product development and integration.

If you haven’t heard about Scale, this could be because the company is only about a year old. And, while other start-ups have struggled through the recession, Scale is, well, scaling its business. In June it closed US$5 million in a funding round led by Blue Chip Venture Company and has been named one of America’s most promising companies by Forbes Magazine for 2009.

So what exactly makes this company so special? Scale has developed Intelligent Clustered Storage (ICS) systems, designed to bring enterprise-level storage solutions to smaller companies at a more affordable price point. Many storage systems that target this space have a monolithic architecture, which means they have a single point of failure. ICS technology, however, is designed to eliminate that single point of failure by storing data asymmetrically.

If that’s not enough of a selling point, the price tag will be: Scale says its technology can reduce costs by up to 75 per cent compared to traditional enterprise storage solutions (a StarterSAN starts at US$18,300). For VARs, it means they can offer competitively priced mid-market storage solutions with aggressive, advanced features – with the added advantage of IBM branding.

Avnet is assisting in Scale’s product development and assembly by integrating Scale’s ICS technology onto the IBM System X server platform to create an end-to-end storage appliance solution, called the iSN1000. Avnet will also help Scale expand its customer base by making this product available through the distie’s 800 IBM VARs in Canada and the U.S.

This is a first for Avnet – the first time the distie will assist in both the development and distribution of the same storage appliance. Aside from taking a different go-to-market approach, it’s also helping the distie fill a gap in its storage business. Previously, Avnet was lacking in a solution for the mid-market and SMB space; now it’s looking to grow that business significantly over the next year.

The deal also gives the start-up some clout in an already established storage business – which gives resellers something more solid to bank on.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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