Avnet adds four new Amazon-powered cloud services

Tim FitzGerald Avnet

, vice president of Avnet’s Cloud Solutions business

’ new team continues to introduce new cloud-based offerings for its resellers. This week, at ’ re:Invent event in Las Vegas, the distributor introduced four new hosted services for its solution providers, all based on Amazon’s cloud computing infrastructure.

The new offerings from the distributor include cloud backup for enterprises, cloud backup for databases, a SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Server Farm option, and Enterprise Web Hosting.

“We’re building on the notion that we communicated in May [with the launch of Avnet Cloud Solutions,] providing integrated and packaged solutions offerings that make it easier for partners to go-to-market quickly with cloud solutions and reduce the cost in terms of what they would have to do to deliver these kind of pre-integrated packages themselves,” said Tim FitzGerald, head of Avnet’s Cloud Solutions group.

The relationship between Avnet and Amazon Web Service is global in nature, although FitzGerald said the company’s intent is to “create a delighted partner and customer experience,” meaning that in some instances, specifics of the partnership may be tailored or fine-tuned for individual markets. Either way, the four new solutions are all available immediately for the company’s Canadian and American solution provider partners.

Here’s a big more of a rundown on the four new services, courtesy of Avnet.

  • Cloud Backup for Enterprises: Combines Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Riverbed® Whitewater® cloud storage gateway appliance, which integrates seamlessly into the existing infrastructure of customers. Avnet’s partners can provide this packaged offering to their customers through a monthly subscription fee.
  • Cloud Backup for Oracle Databases: This monthly, subscription-based solution leverages Amazon S3 with Recovery Manager (RMAN) to provide backup and recovery services for partners’ customers using Oracle databases (version 9iR2 and later).
  • ® 2010 Enterprise Server Farm: Provides a pre-configured, production-grade SharePoint cloud infrastructure based on Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (Amazon EC2). This includes application, presentation and database servers that are ready to be integrated into the existing Active Directory infrastructures of partners’ customers.
  • Enterprise Web Hosting: Delivering production web hosting on Amazon EC2, each package includes a fully scalable, high-availability cloud infrastructure capable of hosting from 10,000 – 100,000 concurrent users and millions of page views per month. Additionally, partners’ customers can quickly deploy a full-load balanced, multiple data center web farm based on Linux that supports the DMZ, presentation, application and database tiers.

The backup offerings are particularly key, as backup and disaster recovery has been one area where businesses have been quick to turn to the cloud. However, it’s also a clouded marketplace, with many cloud-based backup companies targeting VARs and with their offerings. FitzGerald said the fact that Avnet’s solution is based on Amazon’s platform, and runs on best-of-breed hardware and software in the Riverbed appliance and Symantec’s Backup Exec give the distributor an edge in the market.

“We’re finding that end customers in the midmarket, high-end midmarket, and even into the enterprise market are seeing direct, tangible benefits,” FitzGerald said. “Solution providers are able to engage customers in a discussion about how to use the advantages of cloud computing, and as they understand how their customers are thinking about [cloud], they’ll be able to address these solutions.”

With the SharePoint offering, it’s once again about the “elasticity, flexibility and scalability” of Amazon, as well as the promise of based on the installation as opposed to the project-based installation and deployment model that many solution providers are familiar with based on on-premise SharePoint rollouts.

“We don’t think it’s an ‘either or’ situation, it’s both cloud-based and on-premise depending on the requirements of the client you’re trying to serve, but for any solution provider today, doing both is key,” FitzGerald said. “We’re seeing a huge increase in the consumption of off-premise computing.”

Meanwhile, the Web offering opens up more opportunity to solution providers who may have previously subcontracted Web hosting to a dedicated hosting company, or even let that business go on a referral basis to a hoster. As Web continues to explode, and Amazon offers the ability to scale up and scale down as needed, the distributor believes it’s an opportunity for many solution providers to get involved in the cloud game.

“As we look into our current partner base, we see a mixed opportunity,” he said. “Some of them have really shied away from Web hosting, but for some, this is right in their wheelhouse.”

As Avnet continues to redefine itself with more cloud-based services, FitzGerald said the focus is on building contracts with cloud providers that truly get the value of the solution provider channel in the same way that Avnet always has.

“We think cloud providers want those ‘trusted advisor’ types of partners,” he said. “We’re taking what our partners have always known about Avnet in terms of solution distribution as the anchor point, and now we’re bringing it to off-premise computing. We think that’s a competitive advantage for our partners.”

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