Tech Data Canada has added wireless networking products from Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Aruba business to its Advanced Infrastructure Solutions (AIS) linecard, a move that the distributor says comes from both the growing demand for wireless networking, and the growing importance of mobile applications.
Greg Myers, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Tech Data Canada described Aruba as a business “we’ve been excited about since its acquisition of HPE,” and that the distributor beat out its competitors in a competition to earn. The goal, Myers said, is to expand the presence of the brand in the channel.
Myers said the distributor’s pitch to HPE centered on its background in the networking business in general, and its history with HPE’s networking unit in particular — Tech Data has been HPE’s “largest and fastest growing distributor in Canada over the last couple of years.” Myers said signing with Tech Data Canada and its HPE networking background supports the Aruba objective of “merging these businesses to create an end-to-end business across the campus.”
While wireless networking in general is a growth opportunity, its own that Myers sees expanding as businesses become more dependent on mobile workers and mobile applications, which of course are in turn dependent on rock-solid wireless infrastructure behind it.
“I’m interested in the emerging application space for wireless technology,” Myers observed. “It’s about taking business apps from the campus environment and putting them into retail, hospitality, healthcare, and public spaces, allowing people to do business with traditional ERP tools at their fingertips.”
Advanced and wireless networking is familiar territory for the distributor, which also deals in Cisco’s Meraki wireless product line among other vendors. Aruba, he said, gives them another another chance to get into some interesting projects “in all kinds of crazy places — at the airport, in the mall, in the national park system,” and offered the recent example of the Toronto Police Service expanding its reach in terms of mobile applications as a high-profile example of a project solution providers can find.
While the distributor will likely pick up business from existing Aruba resellers as part of the distribution deal, Myers said the main goal of the partnership is to get Aruba in front of new solution providers and to broaden the channel for the technology.
“Canada has a very strong networking community. It’s a big country, so networking is vital, and there’s a very sophisticated group of networking VARs, more and more of whom are finding themselves in the wireless space as a function of market opportunity,” Myers said. “The breadth of partners with a material wireless networking business is growing, but it’s still a relatively narrow and specialized group of resellers.”
Aruba has already invested in that group, largely, and now Tech Data Canada will seek to broaden that group by reaching out to existing HPE resellers who haven’t sold Aruba, as well as those selling “supporting another core networking vendor.”
Myers described the wireless networking space as an area where solution providers can offer a “strong value proposition,” and earn “great margins,” and said the distributor is in the process of identifying the right partners in regions across the country, and getting them developed for Aruba.
“When you look at the explosion of smartphones and other devices, and the Internet of Things, it’s clear that wireless is the modern space for technology,” Myers said. “We’re already to the point where there are expectations. If you’re trying to work and there’s not strong wireless access available, it’s an issue.”