Avnet Launches Cloud Solutions Group

IT solutions provider Avnet Technology Solutions introduced Thursday Avnet Cloud Solutions, a new organization focused on developing integrated cloud solutions for its VAR, MSP and ISV partners in the U.S. and Canada.

As part of the effort, Avnet also announced that it is forming strategic partnerships with select cloud providers. The company announced an agreement with Savvis, a cloud infrastructure and hosted solutions provider that was purchased by CenturyLink in 2011. Avnet also has some existing cloud provider partners such as SherWeb and IO Data Centers, and plans to add more throughout second half and as customer needs evolve, said Tim Fitzgerald, who will head up the new unit as its vice president.

Fitzgerald, a 23-year Avnet veteran, spent the last five years focused on emerging technologies and the distributor’s data center solutions practice. As part of that, he worked on the formation of Avnet’s cloud strategy, including research on the market, players, business relationships and the evolving channel ecosystem, including its similarities and differences to traditional IT channel models.

Fitzgerald told Channel Partners that Avnet Cloud Solutions has been in development for some time and is preceded by several other steps, including Avnet’s Cloud Ready initiative launched in May 2010, which included a PayNow program for converting annuity payments to upfront payments, and assessment training for partners and customers. Avnet Cloud Solutions also aligns with the company’s SolutionsPath brand, which seeks to raise partners’ domain and vertical expertise, and its on-premises data center expertise by focusing on off-premises, cloud data center environments.

Initially, Avnet Cloud Solutions will provide partners with offerings in workload categories that Avnet has identified as moving to the cloud. These include productivity and collaboration, backup and disaster recovery, test and development, security, application hosting and management, remote management and monitoring, and data center as a service.

New partner Savvis will be providing services in the security, data center as a service, and backup and disaster recovery areas, Fitzgerald said, adding that as Savvis’ portfolio grows, Avnet will be selling those services as well.

Avnet also will be providing integrated and packaged offers for its partners by combining some of its own expertise with those of its vendors. Fitzgerald said this is intended to take the costs out for its VAR/MSP/ISV partners and to speed their time to market.

Fitzgerald said sales partners will be able to buy these packaged products and rebill them at a markup. They also will be able to sell them seamlessly along with their own professional services, Avnet’s services or those of Avnet’s partners. A critical component of Avnet’s alliances with cloud providers is protecting the relationships between Avnet’s channel partners and their end customers, Fitzgerald added.

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