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How AI and Other Trends Impact Channel Sales

While staples of our business — such as network closets and edge deployments — are here to stay, new market trends will likely have a significant impact on channel sales.

December 5, 2023

4 Min Read
Channel sales
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When it comes to selling the physical infrastructure associated with your IT projects, channel partners may soon find themselves at a crossroads.

While staples of our business — such as network closets and edge deployments — are here to stay, new market trends will likely have a significant impact on the types of solutions you sell. The proliferation of devices means that your customers will have more assets to manage over the lifecycle of their products — and, in all likelihood, a lot of questions. These scenarios provide an opportunity for channel partners to not only educate customers about current market trends, but also to provide additional services to help them ensure seamless operations while maximizing return on investment.

As you work with customers to scale out their physical infrastructure and proactively address challenges, consider some of the key areas where they may need to focus:

  1. Automation: Although automation of processes might not be top of mind for many end users today, universal skilled labor shortages are accelerating the need for such solutions. In addition, whether we like it or not, power management very often falls at the bottom of the list. Yet, the ability to automate the shutdown of a server or integrated hyperconverged system, move virtual machines to a different host, and switch to power-capping mode are all critical. Eaton’s latest Distributed IT Performance Management software, a component of the Brightlayer suite, is now providing the same connectors that our award-winning IPM software has been doing for years, integrating with popular platforms such as VMware vSphere, Nutanix AHV, Dell VxRail and many more.

  2. Firmware upgrades:  Even when labor is available, the cost of dispatching a technician to a remote site to perform a firmware upgrade has become prohibitive — and the time involved is incompatible with the always-on requirements of most businesses. When channel partners leverage the remote firmware update over the network on the latest Eaton UPS models — such as the 5PX G2 — they can reduce both the time and cost to fix. Be sure to always offer a UPS with this critical capability when quoting any multisite deployment projects. Eaton will not be charging subscription services to keep the firmware of your customers’ network management cards up to date, as other industry players are beginning to do. This is simply a bad example of monetizing digital capabilities, akin to forcing car owners to pay for a subscription service for heated seats when they already paid for the feature.

  3. Cybersecurity:  Inherent in the scaling out of distributed IT infrastructure over time is the challenge of keeping up with the latest product updates, especially related to cybersecurity. Eaton has always been committed to providing the highest level of security to ensure that any network-connected power solutions — be it a UPS or a rack PDU — do not become potential security risks for customers. Our newly released Network-M3 management card takes these capabilities to the next level with zero-trust architecture and zero-touch provisioning. Moreover, Eaton remains the sole vendor with both UL 2900-1 and IEC 62443-4-2 cybersecurity certifications. Any installed base of Eaton products can be retrofitted with the new card to bulletproof customer deployments and extend the service life of these devices without the threat of security risks.

  4. AI acceleration: With artificial intelligence (AI) now on the technology roadmap of virtually every company, large or small, many organizations are running proofs of concept as they attempt to navigate the numerous challenges and concerns surrounding this movement. Although the majority of companies would prefer to eventually own these systems to avoid the issues of data privacy and security associated with a cloud-based solution, the reality is that most will unlikely be able to afford the expensive GPUs needed to run large language models. The good news is that they don’t have to. A focused AI or machine learning deployment can often operate on a beefed-up server with some AI acceleration, keeping the cost increase more reasonable. When helping your customers to scale up, be prepared for higher rack power densities, as these AI-ready servers typically draw more power. As a result, you will need to include larger UPSs or rack PDUs in your bill of materials than in the past. Because these higher-end models represent the sweet spot of the Eaton portfolio, partners can rest assured that the solutions they recommend to customers will meet today’s and tomorrow’s needs.

As always, Eaton is here to support customers’ shifting needs and help channel partners to proactively address new challenges alongside ever-changing technology trends.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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