Avnet Technology Solutions has announced a set of services that it said would make FlexPod – the data centre “building blocks” from Cisco, NetApp and VMware – easier for the channel partners to bring to market.
FlexPods are validated configurations of servers, storage, networking and software for the data centre based around Cisco’s Unified Computing System servers. Think similar to the VCE joint venture, but with NetApp storage gear instead of EMC.
Carol Kinney, vice president and regional sales director for ATS’ Americas Cisco Solutions group, said that by offering configuration services, the distributor is making it easier for solution providers to get into the data centre market.
“We’re making it simple for our partners to obtain a fully validated and designed configuration of FlexPod,” Kinney said. “We’re taking complexity out and providing support with a single phone call.”
Scott Look, vice president and general manager of ATS’ Americas Technology Infrastructure Solutions group, said the distributor has been working with top engineers at NetApp and Cisco, doing on-site builds and building up its skillset to the point where it’s very confident with the technology.
“We can offer a repeatable, consistent approach,” Look said. “When [a FlexPod] leaves our global integration center, it will have the same configuration every time.”
Initially, it will take Avnet “a couple of weeks” to turn around a custom-configured FlexPod for a reseller, but Look said the goal is to get that down to five to seven days to get a product, fully-configured out of the distributor’s integration centre.
The distributor will also make FlexPod configurations available in its Global Solutions Demo Center, which solution providers can work with either locally or remotely. Kinney said the company would have them available within the next few weeks.
To complement the new solutions, Kinney said the distributor would also do enablement on two fronts – providing education around FlexPods for the reseller community, and rolling out demand generation once the services and configuration centre are in full swing.
Over time, Avnet expects to integrate FlexPods into various components of its SolutionsPath practices. The distributor is largely focused on the data centre, and it fits into a wide variety of the “Paths” the company offers – including its Storage, Virtualization and Networking, as well as verticals like healthcare and energy.
“This is what our SolutionsPath methodology is all about – multiple vendors and one-stop shopping with technical expertise,” Look said.
Currently, the distributor has about 60 FlexPod-authorized partners in North America, about half of the total community of FlexPod-authorized partners worldwide, according to a Cisco blog post.