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Distributor Ingram Micro Tuesday is launching a division to sell complex solutions involving such technologies as blade servers and networked storage to organizations with fewer than 1,000 seats.

The Infrastructure Technology Solutions Division will help Ingram Micro’s solution provider partners zero in on a market space that has remained underserved by the IT channel, said Keith Bradley, president of Ingram Micro North America.

“Nobody is servicing that below-1,000-seat market effectively,” he said.

Only a handful of years ago, much of the technology the division will be selling and supporting either wasn’t available or was available only to the enterprise space. But now that technologies such as blade servers, networked storage, server consolidation and virtualization are filtering down to customers of fewer than 1,000 seats, Santa Ana, Calif.-based Ingram Micro wants to make sure its solution providers get a crack at the expanding market.

The new division, Bradley said, capitalizes on the growth that solution providers already are experiencing with technologies such as blades and networked storage by putting the relevant sales, support and service resources under one umbrella.

“We’ve seen disproportionate growth in that server and storage category,” Bradley said.

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Christina Richmond, research manager for hardware channels and alliances at IDC, said Ingram Micro is making a smart move with the division. In the last two years, vendors have finally succeeded at launching products designed specifically for small and midsize businesses, as opposed to trying to push ill-fitting versions of enterprise products, and that has created some new market dynamics, she said.

While SMB-focused solution providers move upstream with these new technologies, their enterprise-focused counterparts are reaching down, creating a convergence in the middle, Richmond said.

Ingram Micro identified this market dynamic and came up with a way to help its partners capitalize on it, she said.

Sam Haffar, president and co-CEO of Computex, a Houston-based, infrastructure-focused Ingram Micro partner, said his company already buys all enterprise servers and storage from Ingram Micro.

By creating the division, Ingram Micro now will be able to provide Computex with better sales support and engineering services, he said.

Bradley said partners will continue to work with their main point of contact at Ingram Micro sales, but the process of pulling together the technologies for high-end server and storage solutions within Ingram Micro will be more efficient.

The division is one of several that Ingram Micro has created, either organically or through acquisition, in the last two years. Bradley said the distributor will continue to take this division approach to market segments and technologies in the future.

The distributor is leveraging existing partnerships with vendors such as IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard for the new division, and is talking to other vendors to fill some technology gaps in the division, Bradley said.

About 100 people will be working in the division, handling such functions as market development and vendor relationships. Heading up the division is Scott Look, formerly of Avnet Inc.

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