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Ingram Micro becomes VMware Authorized Training Center

Ingram Micro continues its virtualization push and hopes the strategy will drive sales of other products as well.

Ingram Micro, furthering its virtualization push, is now a VMware Authorized Training Center for VMware solution providers.

As a VMware Authorized Training Center, Ingram Micro will use VMware-certified trainers to offer sales and technology courses to its value-added resellers (VARs). The news comes just one month after Ingram announced an exclusive distributorship deal with Citrix Systems. Ingram is focusing on virtualization to drive its overall sales, because customers that buy virtualization products typically do so as part of larger IT purchases, said Jodi Honore, the distributor's vice president of vendor management.

"It's a technology that drives a lot of other products along with it," she said.

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VPN Dynamics, a subsidiary of Ingram Micro, will provide the training to VMware partners. Ingram is also encouraging solution providers to resell the training courses to their customers. The distributor approached VMware about becoming a VMware Authorized Training Center, Honore said.

"The thought was to help educate the VARs," she said. "VMware does have a pretty robust requirement when it comes to certification, so not being a VMware Authorized Training Center didn't seem like a good option."

David Quinn, strategic technologies director at GreenPages Technology Solutions, a VMware and Ingram Micro partner in Kittery, Maine, said his experience with Ingram training programs in the past has been "top-notch."

"We especially look forward to reselling their [training] offerings to our clients," he said in a statement.

For VMware, the move expands its training reach further into its distribution network. Other distributors certified as VMware Authorized Training Centers include Alternative Technology and Avnet Technology Solutions.

Ingram Micro provides similar training on Citrix, Check Point Software Technologies, Juniper Networks, Meru, SonicWALL and Websense products, and the company plans to offer even more. The training courses build better relationships between Ingram and its VARs, and they create new opportunities for those resellers, Honore said. Trained VARs are better equipped to assess customer sites and identify more customer needs, she said.

"We'd really like to continue to build out this capability," she added.

VARs can take the training courses in person or online, through the Live Online program that Ingram Micro announced in July. Ingram said it introduced online training to reduce travel costs and to make the courses available to more resellers. All online courses are capped at six students, and unsatisfied resellers can receive vouchers to re-take courses in person.

Ingram Micro will also help VARs offset their training costs through a new program called Smart Enablement for VMware Partners. VARs can sign up for Ingram Micro's VMware Authorized Training Center and learn about the Smart Enablement program by contacting their Ingram sales representatives.

Virtualization is the latest hot spot for vendors, distributors and their VAR partners: Avnet Technology Solutions has been touting its virtualization training resources for VARs, for example. In a few weeks, Microsoft is hosting a big virtualization marketing event around its Hyper-V technology.

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