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NEC America signs Synnex for storage, servers, enterprise software

Synnex's reseller network will put more feet on the street for NEC storage, servers and software and provide its VARs with name-brand hardware options at potentially richer sales margins.

NEC Corp. of America has signed Synnex Corp. to distribute the NEC storage, desktop, server and enterprise software lineup.

Synnex's reseller network will give NEC storage, servers and software more feet on the street and provide its affiliated value-added resellers (VARs) with name-brand hardware options at potentially higher sales margins.

NEC's IT platform group fields both departmental and high-end enterprise servers, desktops and storage, as well as enterprise disaster recovery, clustering, WAN, SAN and high-availability software.

Its other U.S. distribution partners are Promark for the storage and government markets, as well as Condre Storage, Team 1 Systems, Adistec and Foreseeson, said Steve DeBonis, channel director for the IT platform group. The company's prior distribution pact with Avnet has been dormant for some time.

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The hope is that Synnex and NEC can together grow Synnex's enterprise business and provide more geographic and VAR coverage for NEC's products.

The plus for Synnex is that NEC fields name-brand, "mature products that major corporations around the world already use to run their operations," DeBonis told "We are not a startup or a company that does only one thing. We are a full-fledged IT company with multiple servers, storage and storage software and high-availability disaster recovery software -- it's all our own intellectual property."

And, unlike some NEC competitors in these arenas, the products are not sold on every street corner, meaning that participating VARs will face less competition from other partners and higher margins.

"We do not sell direct in North America. This is our strategy," Debonis said. The only exception to that rule is NEC's Hydrastore storage offering, but it is working to get that into the channel as well, he said.

DeBonis knows the drill. "In the old days, you sold $100,000 machines that are $5,000 now. Margins fell. So VARs went to Legato and Veritas to sell that [storage software] because there are more services associated with it," he said.

"We work diligently to make sure our margins are OK. We work with special pricing if [partners] need it. We lose margins if they need them to win the deal," DeBonis added.

NEC will also help resellers do better in services where margins are higher. "Our model is that the services are in the channel. We won't compete there. We will help with pre-sales and post-sales but otherwise the business is in the channel."

DeBonis said he hopes that NEC's hardware lineup will entice VARs who now work with EMC or Dell storage but turn over server sales to a competitor. Those storage partners can instead offer NEC storage and server solutions themselves.

Bob Stegner, Synnex's senior vice president of North American marketing, is obviously pleased about this nonexclusive deal. (Synnex partners with Hewlett-Packard and IBM already.)

"The SMB VARs that NEC is looking for are the ones we have. They're not trying to reinvent the wheel," Stegner said. "NEC has a really well-recognized name. If someone else came in without the name there might be more pressure. But they're coming down the chute with a strong distribution partner."

Main Street Technologies already works with Synnex, and president Michele Wien said she'll be glad to offer NEC servers and storage.

"They give us a strong brand and their deal protection plan looks good. We can lock in a deal that may need a little more configuration work and not worry about losing it. I think this will potentially be one of our lead brands," she said. Main Street, based in Angel's Camp, Calif., already offers HP and IBM products.

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