I spoke with Avnet Technology Solutions on August 20 to get more details about their expanded OneTech Managed Services initiative, which the company announced earlier this week.
I've been trying to sort out how Avnet's strategy differs from Ingram Micro Seismic, Tech Data VARChoice and Synnex. Here are some general observations. Generally speaking, Avnet's own data centers continue to offer hosted managed services for VARs. But the latest Avnet move is designed to allow managed service providers to strengthen their own network operation centers and on-site support.
"Our offerings before this announcement were focused on [MSPs using] our own tier 4 data centers," says Jack Morris, VP of services, Avnet Technology Services. "But some [MSPs and customers] want on-premise services."
It sounds like Avnet is pursuing a hybrid approach -- you can leverage the company's hosted data center services or work with Avnet to build out your own network operation centers and on-site support. And much of the strategy focuses on managing blade servers, storage and back-end infrastructure rather than desktops, says Morris.
Still, it's difficult to determine how well Avnet OneTech is performing in the market. Morris is upbeat about MSP adoption rates and Avnet is rallying a few hundred Sun Microsystems partners this week in Colorado at the New Frontiers conference. But specific adoption rates and statistics for Avnet OneTech are hard to find.
Numbers, PleaseIngram Micro is a bit more forthcoming with specific adoption figures. During last week's Ingram Micro Seismic partner conference in Chicago, Ingram VP Justin Crotty told me roughly 750 MSPs leverage Seismic services. Crotty expects that figure to top 1,000 MSPs later this year or by early 2009.
With Ingram Micro Seismic, the idea is to help VARs become MSPs with the flip of a switch. Ingram has lined up a range of software partners and hosted solutions that VARs can leverage through software as a service (SaaS). VARs can go completely with Seismic, or mix-and-match Seismic services with the VAR's own existing, internal NOC services.
Tech Data's VARChoice, by contrast, seems to be a software reselling approach -- where VARs can work with Tech Data to choose from a range of MSP software platforms, which the VARs then deploy on their own.
Synnex, meanwhile, launched a range of new on-demand managed services in early August 2008. I'm trading email with the Synnex team and expect a briefing soon.
A note of caution: I'm painting with broad strokes here and may have overlooked key features of each distributor strategy. For deeper details you should check in with each distributor directly and then come to your own conclusions.