With Cisco on board, Avnet’s NetworkPath targets the data centre

Coming not long after bringing Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) on board as a vendor partner, value-added distributor Avnet Technology Solutions (NYSE: AVT) has expanded its SolutionsPath program with NetworkPath, designed to help partners target the lucrative data centre opportunity.

NetworkPath will be the sixth entry in Avnet’s SolutionsPath portfolio. Three of the others are focused on industry opportunities in virtualization, security and storage, while the other two are vertical-focused in health care and government. The paths are designed around Avnet-identified high-growth opportunities, and provide partners with the tools and assistance to enable partners to take tested solutions to market around each opportunity.

Domenic Gianfrancesco, director of network solutions for Avnet Technology Solutions (ATS), said NetworkPath is designed to help partners accelerate their growth and success in the networking field,, minimize the risk and investment of getting into the practice area, and build profitable and sustainable network practices that address customers’ network needs.

Like other Avnet solution paths, NetworkPath includes “University” training curriculum designed to help partners build their technical and marketing skills, Assessment Services to help partners identify new sales opportunities in areas such as network optimization and converged networks, and PlayBooks, which are online sales kits focused on specific end-user business challenges.

“Ultimately, our goal is to enable our partners to become that trusted advisor in the eyes of their customers, helping their customers solve their data centre and IT problems,” said Gianfrancesco.

Avnet’s launch of NetworkPath comes one month after the distributor signed with networking vendor Cisco Systems as a specialty distributor for Cisco’s data centre products in North America. Focusing on Cisco’s Unified Communications System (UCS) and data centre business, Avnet will be carrying the Nexus data centre family of switches, the MDS family of fiber channel SAN switches, Catalyst E-Blade switches, UCS blade and rack servers, Application Control Engine, and WAN Optimization. The NetworkPath practice will also include offerings from vendors such as HP, F5, Aruba, Extreme Networks, Brocade and IBM.

“There’s this continued migration of voice and video to IP networks, and video especially keeps creating new growth opportunities in networking,” said Gianfrancesco of the opportunities in the networking space. “Also, new convergence around storage and Ethernet in the data centre.

Consolidation in the data centre with virtualization creates new opportunities for networking.”Brian Aebig, vice-president and general manager of Canadian operations for ATS, said there’s a strong opportunity in Canada in the data centre and all of Avnet’s recent initiatives, including NetworkPath, are designed to target that opportunity.

“The overall networking opportunity is not 100 per cent inclusive of where we want to play. We want the data centre,” said Aebig.

In other areas where Avnet has launched solution paths, partners have experienced three to five-times faster growth said Tim FitzGerald, technology solutions practices leader at ATS.

“We continue to identify those high-growth areas, whether they be vertical or market,” said FitzGerald. “We’re hard at work tweaking those already announced, and identifying new areas we think would be (good additions).”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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