Oracle vs. Cisco Systems: Competing for Avnet Partner Mind Share?
When the Avnet Technology Solutions Partner Summit kicks off July 26, Cisco Systems and Oracle plan to be at the event in full force. In fact, Cisco and Oracle may offer channel partners competing data center views. Why’s that? Here are some clues…
Rewind to September 2008. Avnet CEO Roy Vallee offered an open letter to Cisco Systems, pursuing a distribution relationship with the networking giant. Cisco finally embraced the Avnet partner opportunity in December 2009. By May 2010, Vallee indicated that the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) ranks among the top opportunities for Avnet Technology Solutions partners.
What’s next? It’s safe to expect plenty of UCS chatter at the Avnet Technology Solutions Partner Summit (July 26-28, Broomfield, Colo.). Avnet already has close hardware relationships with Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun Microsystems (now owned by Oracle).
So Cisco’s presence at the conference represents a chess match of sorts… a move by the networking giant to grab stage time and build closer relationships with Avnet’s channel partner base.
Still, Cisco won’t grab the entire spotlight. Oracle also plans to have a major presence at the conference, The VAR Guy hears. That’s hardly surprising. Following Oracle’s recent buyout of Sun, Avnet has worked carefully to maintain its Sun relationship.
At the Avnet conference, Oracle will likely promote the Oracle PartnerNetwork Specialized (OPN Specialized) initiative, which includes more than 35 areas of specialization — including storage and server specializations that promote Sun offerings.
Hmmm… Oracle storage and server specializations? Ironically, Cisco’s UCS strategy involves networking, storage and servers converging in the data center. So in some ways Cisco and Oracle are on a collision course. That could become abundantly clear during the Avnet partner gathering.