This is one that you could have seen coming a million miles away. With only two master resellers in the global server racket, it was only a matter of time before either Arrow Electronics or Avnet started distributing the "California" Unified Computing System converged blade servers from Cisco Systems.
Avnet has announced that its Technology Solutions group - the part of the company that peddles servers, storage, networking gear and such - had inked a distribution agreement with Cisco. It allows Avnet and its downstream channel partners so certified to push the California boxes in the United States and Canada.
"With the incredible amount of convergence taking place within the data center, it is critical to provide customers with complete solutions designed to address their business challenges," said Jeff Bawol, president of the Technology Solutions unit in the Americas, in announcing the deal.
He added: "Our new distribution relationship with Cisco will enable Avnet's channel partners to address the data center market holistically, with an exciting class of products designed to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs. We will work hand-in-hand with our channel partners to ensure they have the support, programs, and services needed to be successful in this highly complex environment where server, storage, networking and virtualization technologies are increasingly converging."
Under the agreement, Avnet and its channel partners will be able to sell the California blade servers (the B Series) as well as the rack versions (the C Series). The B Series features integrated and converged 10 Gigabit Ethernet switching for server and storage traffic.
Avnet also has dibs on the Nexus converged switches, which predate the integrated switches used in the California boxes, but which provide the same Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) capability. Avnet can also peddle Catalyst switches and Cisco's Application Control Engine and WAN optimization products.
It will be interesting to see what Avnet's channel partners do with the California and related products from Cisco. You can sure bet that IBM and Hewlett-Packard will be watching very closely. ®