Tech Data's new division will help storage VARs

Tech Data's new Advanced Infrastructure Solutions (AIS) division will help storage VARs sell and support virtualization, blade servers, and other server and storage technologies.

Today Tech Data will open a new division designed to help value-added resellers (VARs) with sales, marketing, and technical and product-management expertise.

Tech Data is launching the Advanced Infrastructure Solutions (AIS) division, which includes network-certified sales staff, as well as marketing and credit experts, to help VARs win business and keep up with virtualization, x86-based blade servers and other changes in technology infrastructure. The group will focus mostly on servers and storage, but virtualization, network management, remote monitoring and security will also be part of its portfolio.

AIS executives said the division will also move its efforts farther up the sales cycle to win business earlier and pass the leads to VARs.

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According to Pete Peterson, AIS' senior vice president and general manager, VARs typically work with the customer to put together a solution and only contact TechData sales reps when the technology decision has been made and the project manager needs quotes on availability and price.

Peterson's vision is that AIS' sales staff will work more directly with with customers to help the IT managers select hardware and software for their storage infrastructure; he hopes this strategy will reinforce the sale for VARs.

"We are trying to influence the infrastructure decisions and provide more value to the VARs," Peterson said. "Along with our business partners (vendors) we want to drive and create and connect demand and help them lead on the front end to solve a customer's problem," Peterson said.

Jay Kishor, president of California Integrated Solutions, a Phillips Ranch, Calif.-based reseller that provides storage solutions said the establishment of AIS as a standalone division will mean a lot to storage resellers.

"It's going to be a single point of contact for storage VARs and the direction they are heading into is basically helping us sell more of a storage solution through Tech Data, using their services," Kishor said. "Our customer is going to benefit by having quick pre-sales contact at the same time we will get the technical support we need, everything at one spot."

Kishor, who is a member of Tech Data's TechSelect Council —a group of resellers to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) -- also said that Tech Data's technical assistance on projects will customers make technology choices more quickly to help speed-up project implementations.

"We will be able to fulfill the orders faster and with more accuracy than to find out, for example, that we shipped something and it's not compatible with the existing system," Kishor said.

Among the storage areas AIS will help VARs with are:

Server virtualization: This is a growing area in which software running on servers disguises server resources and reduces the number of physical servers as well as costs. Parallels and Xensource server virtualization solutions will be offered to VARs, and this week Tech Data announced AIS will be offering its VARs IBM servers running XenSource virtualization software for the x86 server market.

Server consolidation: VARs will be assisted in planning an IT storage infrastructure that reduces the total number of server locations end customers require.

Security: By offering enterprise-class threat management and asset protection solutions VARs will keep up with the latest trends in threat protection.

Remote network management and monitoring: VARs can tap into a 24-hour-a-day service that will offer software updates, security patches and advice on data backup and device configuration.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Nicole Lewis, Senior News Writer

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