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Looking to help resellers take their customers’ data centers to the next
level, distributor Avnet’s (NYSE:AVT)
Technology Solutions organization has introduced a networking practice comprising
the top technologies for modern data centers—virtualization, security, storage
and networking.

Avnet’s NetworkPath is designed to help resellers gain specialized expertise
for the data center through services, tools and training that enable them to
create a successful networking and data center practice. NetworkPath is ATS’
sixth such specialized practice area.

Avnet created the new practice specialization because it believes the
opportunity for resellers in the data center is significant. Avnet’s estimates
(based on numbers from Gartner and IDC)
place networking equipment and services revenue for 2009 at $76.9 billion.
Avnet’s NetworkPath is designed to help partners tap into that opportunity by
helping them address customer needs for standard networking products and
services plus the security and network management required for specific
customer environments.

“The data center presents tremendous opportunity for resellers that understand
how to create integrated solutions involving multiple suppliers and technology
areas, such as networking, storage, security and virtualization,” said Domenic
Gianfrancesco, director of network solutions, Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas,
in a prepared statement.

Such an approach using technology from different vendors can differ from the
integrated compute/storage/networking/virtualization solutions that are
currently offered by HP and Cisco. Some VARs have criticized the HP and Cisco
offerings for taking away the VAR’s
value-add and service opportunity from data center deals. Some in the industry
advocate a best-of-breed product approach for data centers, which typically
calls for a more hands-on approach by VARs and system integrators.

In December 2009 Avnet
announced that it would support Cisco’s Unified Computing
initiative by
carrying all the products required to create a Cisco UC solution.

Avnet says NetworkPath provides the following:

  • NetworkPath
    University: training that
    includes both information on sales opportunities and also addresses the
    skills and services needed to develop a networking practice.
  • NetworkPath Assessment
    Services: a networking analysis that covers network optimization, network
    readiness, converged networks, consolidated networks, network security and
    wireless LAN networks.
  • SolutionsPath Playbooks:
    online sales toolkits focused on end-customer business challenges. These
    are designed to help partners prepare for sales calls, determine what
    types of solutions address their customers’ needs and generate leads to
    build their sales pipeline, according to Avnet.

Avnet’s NetworkPath is not the first such practice specialty introduced by the
distributor.

“Avnet’s NetworkPath is a natural addition to our existing SolutionsPath
technology practices,” said Gianfrancesco in a statement. “We developed the
practice to help our partners broaden their expertise, while providing them
with additional skills and tools needed to address their customers’ evolving
requirements for solutions spanning the entire data center.” Others include
SecurePath, StoragePath, VirtualPath, GovPath and HealthPath.