QLogic beefs up distribution strategy

With a new lineup of the latest innovations in networking technologies, QLogic has had to reevaluate its distribution strategy and broaden its agreement with Ingram Micro – an agreement that should fare well for both vendor and distie.

Ingram will now distribute QLogic’s complete portfolio of products throughout the Americas – giving reseller partners a chance to get onboard with the latest innovations in networking technologies, such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).

Previously QLogic’s products were primarily distributed through OEMs, though it did have partnerships with Tech Data, a href=”http://www.synnex.ca/” target=”_blank”>Synnex and Arrow. It had also been distributing certain brands through Ingram, but on a small scale. Only 20 per cent of QLogic’s revenues were driven by channel sales – meaning the networking vendor was missing out on a huge potential market.

QLogic also focused its business primarily on the enterprise and mid-market, so it’s hoping this deal with Ingram will give it a foot in the door to the SMB market. That’s what QLogic admits has been a “gaping hole” in its strategy.

Not to mention a few years back Emulex, it biggest rival, signed a multi-year distribution agreement with Ingram. Now that the networking market is experiencing a major shift with new technologies, it makes sense for QLogic to beef up its distribution arrangements, particularly for FCoE, which combines IP and data network traffic onto a single network under the Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) protocol. Ingram also carries FCoE products from Emulex and Cisco.

A mere six months ago these new networking technologies weren’t available. Now, QLogic (along with its rivals) have new products in FCoE, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, InfiniBand and 8Gb Fibre Channel. That’s created momentum behind unified networking and unified data centre solutions.

All of the major networking players, of course, want to bring these new technologies to a broader market – though they will likely first take off in the data centre and then move down-market. For QLogic, only 20 per cent of its reseller partners overlap with Ingram’s, so that opens up a lot of opportunities.

For Ingram, the deal strengthens its position in data centre solutions – an area it’s been targeting through its Infrastructure Technology Solutions (ITS) division, which helps reseller partners sell and service advanced data centre technologies.

QLogic will not only give it an edge with enterprises and the mid-market, but also for specific verticals such as finance, insurance, manufacturing, aerospace and automotive. And both vendor and distie are hoping these technologies will move down-market and fill in a gap in the SMB space. The QLogic line will be delivered with training and support services for resellers throughout the Americas.

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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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