Distributors back Cisco UCS platform

As the business day was closing yesterday Comstor, a Cisco only distributor that just established a presence in Canada, confirmed it will distribute Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) in Canada and the rest of the world.

Then a few hours later, Ingram Micro decided to join them.</P.

With Ingram and Comstor in the fold, the channel may have its first solid crack at the large data centre opportunity in the market place.

Bill Corbin, executive vice president, Comstor Worldwide, told CDN that while the data centre has been the realm of the large service provider or enterprise solution providers such as Dimension Data Canada and Bell Business Solutions, he believes that two tier resellers will finally get their shot at the large mid-market opportunity that UCS provides.

“UCS can move into the tier two channel space. They will be in the mid-market and that market is robust for UCS blade servers. It fits very well in there and it has op-ex and cap-ex advantages and there is a green play as well. It will be incumbent upon us to train them and help Cisco get to a 1,000 partners (for the mid-market) around the world,” Corbin said.

Of those 1,000 new partners Corbin added that the majority of them will be based in North America.

Currently Comstor has 75 per cent of its field operatives trained and certified on UCS with the remaining members of its staff about to complete their training by the middle of this month.

Corbin said that Cisco does not have very many channel partners signed up for UCS. Only two are ready for UCS in Canada (Compugen and Longview Systems), for example.

“Channel partners are going to have to get through it and we wanted to get a jump start on that and we have invested a tonne of resources so that we can help the partner base get up to speed on UCS,” Corbin said.

Cisco has only 63 UCS ready channel partners. The company’s goal is to reach 100 by the fiscal close of business. Corbin said that about 90 per cent of those channel partners are also Comstor partners.

Meanwhile, only a few details have trickled out from Ingram on its UCS strategy. CDN has learned that the broadline distributor has also made a large investment in training staff on data centre sales, the company has developed a targeted education and enablement series for the channel on UCS and that its Buffalo, N.Y. facility will be showcasing UCS products along with its headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif.

Comstor is also going to provide its OneX series of best practices for UCS, Corbin added.

Corbin believes that UCS is disruptive technology that will change the architectural play in the data centre. “By introducing UCS in the VAR channel it gives them a path to the data centre, which they did not have before with IBM or HP. This also gives them an opportunity to capitalize on virtualization and the borderless networking trends,” Corbin said.

Corbin did not want to provide any ball-park revenue or margin predictions because he does not want to set a false expectation. He did say, however, that there will be an increase in gross margins for product delivery and in services, but cautioned that just being in this space will not put revenue in the books. “You still have to sell it.”

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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