Tech Data Establishes Cisco Solutions Group

The new initiative is designed to help VARs capitalize on the convergence of data center and networking technologies by providing sales and technical support.

February 4, 2009

Al Senia

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Distributor Tech Data Corp. (NASDAQ:TECD) has established a new solutions group for Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) products as part of a strategy to help networking VARs market data-center infrastructure solutions to businesses. The new Cisco Solutions Group, headed by Tech Data veteran Chuck Bartlett, will operate under the distributor's Advanced Infrastructure Solutions Division (AIS).

The new Cisco Solutions Group will provide VARs access to dedicated Cisco sales, marketing and systems engineering expertise. VARs will also be able to obtain Cisco certification through Tech Data, according to Bartlett. The move underscores the growing importance of data virtualization to VARs and other channel partners.

"Cisco runs from the edge to the core, so it was reasonably easy to craft solutions with Cisco,versus other vendors where you might have bundle solutions from several different areas," said Bartlett, in explaining why Tech Data decided to focus on Cisco solutions. "It seemed a natural fit."

He said that Cisco and Tech Data "jointly decided over the last two quarters to form the specialized group," hoping to capitalize on the growing desire of many companies to cut costs by virtualizing their data-center operations. "This allows us to increase our focus on them (Cisco)," said Bartlett. "This will allow us to eventually increase our growth rate. We have a very close relationship with Cisco." Bartlett would not specify what the sales growth target is for the new Cisco Solutions Group.

Infrastructure Enhancements

Pete Peterson, Tech Data senior vice president and general manager, Advanced Infrastructure Solutions, added that IT infrastructure enhancement is shifting from traditional storage and networking solutions into a more efficient virtual data-center environment. "It's where the puck is going," he said. "Not only can we provide the products and services (to VARs), but we have other resources to help you" including solutions, training and sales and technical support.

Bartlett said the Cisco Solutions Group will be comprised of dozens of specially trained Cisco experts, including inside and field sales professionals, systems engineers, as well as business development, channel marketing and product management specialists, who will work in close consultation with in-house and field-based Cisco representatives.

Bartlett said he expects many of Tech Data's existing networking VAR customers "to expand their breadth of capability by looking at virtualization." Conversely, VARs specializing in virtualization "may be interested in integrating networking into their overall solution for virtualization."

Added Bartlett: We will be enabling VARs to get into areas and solutions that they might not have gotten into before."

The new Cisco Solutions Group is part of a division established two years ago by Tech Data to provide sales support for VARs deploying data-center technologies such as servers, storage, advanced management software and virtualization solutions. AIS has established partnerships with VMware, Virtual Iron, Vizioncore, DataCore and Parallels. Tech Data views virtualization as the driving force behind IT infrastructure optimization.

Some Tech Data VARs were happy with the new move. "There's no doubt the data center is changing and the convergence of networking and data center technologies through virtualization is at the heart of that change," said Joe Koenig, president, World Wide Technology Inc., a systems integrator specializing in supply-chain solutions, in a prepared statement.

(Al Senia is managing editor of ITChannelPlanet.com.)

TAGS: virtualization,data center,Cisco,distributor,Tech Data

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