Avnet Canada introduces tools for Cisco UCS resellers

Avnet Technology Solutions Canada has introduced a pair of new programs designed to help Cisco partners build out their business with Cisco’s UCS line of data centre servers.

The distributor has introduced a data centre demo lab and a customer test drive program to help solution providers build awareness and validate configurations of UCS.

We caught up with Brian Aebig, general manager of Avnet Canada, to discuss the new programs.


Join us after the jump for a full rundown on the programs.

Cisco Data Centre Lab

The lab, hosted at the company’s Mississauga, Ont. headquarters, is the first lab in Canada for Avnet. The distributor offers a number of remotely-accessible labs around various data centre technologies, mostly at its Phoenix, Ariz. headquarters.

Aebig said the goal of the lab is to create awareness about UCS in the channel, and in its partners’ customers. The lab includes a full production-ready facility with Cisco data centre products and related technology. The distributor expects to host a variety of events and meetings in the lab – bringing in groups of VARs for education and enablement, and allowing Avnet partners to bring their customers in for demonstrations.

For partners outside of the Greater Toronto Area, the lab is accessible remotely via the Web.

Customer Test Drive Program

The ability to install a Cisco UCS package at a customer’s location is a uniquely Canadian program for Avnet. Under the program, the company has two configurations – both the full rackmount servers and a blade-based UCS server, available for resellers to install in a customer’s own data centre.

Aebig said that if the lab focuses on awareness, the Test Drive program is a “sales acceleration tool.” “It will help you increase your close rate and increase your ability to go to a higher level with UCS in a quicker timeframe.”

Test drive engagements are typically 30-day engagements with a week before to configure the solutions and a week afterwards to tear it down. Avnet will ship the UCS test drive configurations coast-to-coast-to-coast in Canada, Aebig said.

Both programs are free to Avnet partners, including full support from Avnet’s marketing team.

“The logistics, the catering, all those things just go away – we take care of them,” Aebig said.

The UCS market

Aebig has bullish expectations for the programs and the UCS market in Canada. Like any new product to market, it has taken some time to reach critical mass, but Aebig said that “we’re at the cusp of the hockey stick of growth.” The two programs, he says, will help partners “connect the dots” to reach the growth Cisco is expecting in the segment.

“When you’re in a rapidly-growing market like Cisco data centre products, it is completely reasonable to look at doubling sales – the question becomes how fast it doubles,” Aebig said. “Cisco has been very aggressive sales projections and growth projections, and we anticipate we’ll earn our unfair share of that growth.”

The two new programs join the rest of a variety of sales acceleration support services Avnet offers around data centre technologies. Aebig said the strategy is to “provide a suite of activities and programs that all build on each other and enable the channel to do the things that Cisco feels necessary to differentiate its data centre products in the market.”