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Logicalis, one of North America’s largest Hewlett-Packard resellers, opened a HP demonstration center in Cincinnati on May 30, the first of three planned sites, to test solutions and close sales.

The demonstration center, outfitted with HP midrange and SMB (small and midsize business) technology—Integrity servers, EVA (Enterprise Virtual Array) StorageWorks products and BladeSystem infrastructure—will allow the reseller to prove business value, said Brandon Harris, director of partner development for the firm’s Integrated Solutions Group.

The unit will allow Logicalis to duplicate a customer’s business environment and run upgrades through the ringer of real-world situations.

“We can talk all we want about how a business will improve operations by upgrading to an HP Integrity server, but until customers see the solution in action, they sometimes take an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude,” said Harris.

Logicalis, in February, acquired Avnet’s $100 million HP end-user practice. Click here to read more.

“When customers actually see their systems running on upgraded hardware, they understand its benefits.”

“For example, if a midsize factory runs its manufacturing operations with a system based on an Oracle database on a PA-RISC system, the IT folks know that technology is going away,” Harris said.

“We can load that application into an Integrity server in our demo center, bring it up, and show that it will not only migrate seamlessly and offer better performance, but reduce the total cost of ownership.”

Consultants can run systems on three different operating systems simultaneously: HP/UX, Linux, and Windows.

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The center uses cameras, a broadband connection and Cisco’s MeetingPlace to run demonstrations remotely or Live From Cincinnati (to use the firm’s jargon). This is especially beneficial to SMBs with tight travel budgets.

The reseller, based in Bloomfield Hills. Mich., has plans to open centers in Los Angeles, then Chicago, and to eventually implement blade-server demonstration capabilities in its offices nationwide, including Atlanta and Boston.

Logicalis similarly operates an IBM Business Partner Innovation Center at its Bloomfield Hills site.