Avnet Orders 100 Oracle Database Appliances; Begins ODA Sales
Avnet Technology Solutions has ordered 100 Oracle Database Appliances (ODAs) and expects to receive Oracle shipments in mid-October, according to Chris Swahn, VP and GM of Oracle solutions at Avnet. Meanwhile Avnet’s entire vertical market leadership team — across health care, government, retail, energy and financial services — is attending Oracle OpenWorld to build deeper Oracle relationships, The VAR Guy has learned.
Avnet has already sold two Oracle Database Appliances, and Avnet partners have generated more than a dozen customer quotes so far. Oracle announced the appliances in September, positioning them as vertically integrated servers featuring 24 Intel x86 cores, Oracle Linux and the Oracle database.
“The Oracle on Oracle strategy — which is really the Red Stack — is cooking,” Swahn told The VAR Guy during Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. “At first, partners were skeptical of this [Oracle software and hardware] coming together. If you were a hardware partner you had to make software investments, and vice versa. But over the last six months it has continually progressed.”
Avnet sounds confident that it will sell out the Oracle Database Appliance inventory fairly quickly. “Partners are trying to reserve inventory but we’re not allowing reserves,”said Swahn. “I’m telling partners: Bring me the POs [purchase orders].”
“The opportunity is so large if you understand what Oracle is trying to do,” said Swahn, who shifted from a Cisco- to Oracle-centric role at Avnet in November 2010. “They have so much power in their software. Bookend that power with Oracle’s hardware and applications. If a partner really invest now, in two years image what you would look like. Your model as a reseller could be enormously enhanced. I’m not sure which competitor could catch up.”
Behind the scenes, it’s no secret that Oracle hit some bumps with its distribution partners — Avnet and Arrow ECS — when Oracle first acquired Sun. Generally speaking, it sounds like Oracle and its distribution partners wrestled with profit margins — who keeps what — and go-to-market strategies in 2010. (Side note: The VAR Guy has to catch up with Arrow ECS for their perspectives on the Oracle marketplace.)
In recent months, it sounds like Oracle has improved its distributor relationships. Oracle Channel Chief Judson Althoff says Oracle now generates $2 billion in revenues through Avnet and Arrow — though The VAR Guy doesn’t know how that current figure compares to earlier years.
At Avnet, the company says there’s a good relationship with Oracle “from our CEO on down.” Swahn notes that Oracle President Mark Hurd and Althoff have spent considerable time focused on the Avnet relationship.
To return the favor, Avnet has purchased an Oracle Exadata server and is building out an Exadata infrastructure to help VARs with demos and proof of concepts. “We’re driving specializations that drive the Red Stack.”
Also coming soon: Sales enablement tools that allow Avnet partners to track their historic product sales in order to recommend specific product refreshes to individual customers or groups of customers.
Going Vertical — Even More
Meanwhile, Avnet’s vertical market teams have invaded Oracle OpenWorld. Mike Houghton, VP of vertical market solutions for Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas, says his key team leaders are at the conference.
Thos Avnet leaders are researching ways to work more closely with Oracle and its ISVs in the health care, government, retail, energy and financial markets. At Avnet, sales across those five vertical markets is growing at twice the industry average, Houghton asserted.
Next, Houghton sees an opportunity to connect the dots between multiple verticals. For instance, health care providers often have pharmacies, which means health care has a retail extension to it. Similarly, government hospitals blend the government and health care verticals, Houghton said.
Still, Houghton cautioned partners to carefully consider their vertical market strategies. “It’s not for every partner. But the best partners are moving in our direction.”
And in some cases, it sounds like those Avnet partners also have Oracle on their minds…