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Avnet Launches New Converged Infrastructure Offering For Crunching Data

Michael Novinson – CRN

Wall Street firms or big-box retailers looking to crunch numbers a little faster can breathe easy, thanks to Avnet Technology Solutions’ new converged infrastructure solution.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based distributor said Wednesday that it’s rolling out across the United States and Canada a Cisco SAP HANA offering with the latest generation of Intel Core Processors.

Like most converged infrastructure offerings, the Avnet solution harnesses the power of in-memory computing to provide server, networking and storage capabilities, said Pete Rzonca, vice president and general manager of Avnet’s Cisco Solutions group in the Americas.

But where it really stands out from the crowd is with the SAP HANA software, which Rzonca said reduces number-crunching that used to take more than a week to just a few days.

Quicker processing and analyzing of data should allow end users to gain instant insight into business operations and reduce the costs associated with deploying multiple data warehouses, according to Avnet.

Prices are determined based on the data-processing capabilities needed, Rzonca said, ranging from $50,000 for a very small converged Cisco solution to millions of dollars for a very large one with an EMC or NetApp storage scale-out piece, which can provide support for up to 16 terabytes of optimized data.

Demand is expected to come primarily from the financial, federal government and large retail verticals, Rzonca said.

The solution is being sold solely through the channel, Rzonca said, with Cisco initially bringing on its higher-end partners to carry out sales. Cisco’s SAP HANA offerings are sold exclusively through Avnet.

Resellers need a fair amount of expertise to scope, install and configure the complex, multifaceted solution on-site, Rzonca said. But for solution providers who are able to handle more than a commodity, Rzonca said there’s a payoff.

“When there’s more complexity, there’s opportunity for more margins,” he said.

Ongoing maintenance and configuration services offer solution providers the chance for recurring revenue, Rzonca said. And with the products already integrated by Avnet, channel partners should be able to minimize risk and bring the products to market relatively quickly.

Avnet is able to provide interested partners with pre-sales support, solution-level quoting, delivery and installation assistance, he said. Avnet technicians are typically brought on-site for larger installations, Rzonca said, but not as much for smaller ones.

The distributor has sold converged Cisco SAP HANA offerings with previous generations of Intel processors for about two years, Rzonca said. The third-generation processors should be capable of doing more faster, he said.

General Datatech (GDT) plans to implement Avnet’s new offering for its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which supports the company’s finance, accounting, logistics and sales activities, said project manager Deanna Davenport.

The Dallas-based Cisco VAR said that the HANA database will allow its ERP to process data faster, which, in turn, should speed up customer response times.

“It’s really breaking ground in a new territory,” Davenport said.

GDT plans to come to market with a HANA hardware reselling initiative around September 2014, Davenport said.