Distributor Avnet Technology Solutions has expanded its Cloud Solutions practice with the announcement of four new off-premise cloud computing solutions, two of them backup solutions, one SharePoint and one web hosting. All four services are powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), and are the first offerings from a new relationship between the two companies. They are available to partners in the U.S. and Canada.
“This is our coming out party with AWS,” said Tim FitzGerald, vice president of Avnet Cloud Solutions, Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas. “Our cloud portfolio was strong previously, but we have significantly broadened it with AWS. This is the first public announcement of our partnership with AWS.”
Avnet launched Avnet Cloud Solutions in the U.S. and Canada in May 2012, a dedicated team focused on off-premise cloud solutions. They identified seven specific offerings they considered well suited to off-premise cloud delivery models, where they would provide packaged offerings, drawing them from multiple providers. Those seven areas were: productivity and collaboration; backup and disaster recovery; test and development; security; application hosting and management; remote management and monitoring; and data center as a service.
The two backup offerings are Cloud Backup for Enterprises, which also leverages Riverbed and Symantec technology, and Cloud Backup for Oracle Databases. Cloud Backup for Enterprises combines Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Riverbed Whitewater cloud storage gateway appliance, which integrates seamlessly into the existing infrastructure of Symantec Backup Exec customers. Cloud Backup for Oracle Databases leverages Amazon S3 with Oracle’s Recovery Manager (RMAN) to provide backup and recovery services for partners’ customers using Oracle databases (version 9iR2 and later). Both are sold through a monthly subscription fee.
“Several different attributes make them attractive to end customers and should make them attractive to partners as well,” FitzGerald said. “Their integrated nature reduces design cost for partners and increases repeatability. They are based on Riverbed and Symantec technologies that are well accepted. And they have the scalability advantages of AWS. The partner can also represent these to the customer themselves, as opposed to referring a customer to a relationship with a cloud provider who may not recognize the work that our partners have done.”
That, FitzGerald said, is why Avnet doesn’t offer referral options in their cloud offerings.
“We think it’s essential that partners can leverage the work they have already done, so that it’s valued and protected,” he said. “We want to bring about cloud provider relationships that are resell as opposed to referral, where the different legal relationship remains between partners and their customers.
The new productivity and collaboration offering is Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Server Farm. It provides a pre-configured, production-grade SharePoint cloud infrastructure based on Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (Amazon EC2). This includes application, presentation and database servers that are ready to be integrated into the existing Active Directory infrastructures of partners’ customers.
“End clients are looking to increase collaboration internally and externally, and this allows them to do so with a dynamic combo of Microsoft and AWS,” FitzGerald said. “AWS is all about scalability.”
The fourth offering, aimed at partners in the hosting market, is Enterprise Web Hosting. Based on Amazon EC2, each package includes a fully scalable, high-availability cloud infrastructure capable of hosting from 10,000 – 100,000 concurrent users and millions of page views per month. Additionally, partners’ customers can quickly deploy a full-load balanced, multiple data center web farm based on Linux that supports the DMZ, presentation, application and database tiers.
“It is faster for partners to get to market and easier to propose a solution with these pre-integrated and packaged offerings,” FitzGerald said. “But we have been seeing that for partners to be viewed as trusted advisors in the cloud, they have to build on the competencies they have for clients who want to consume IT on the ‘as-a-service’ model. A cloud investment is not for the faint of heart. The successful ones are the ones who are deeply strategically committed.”
FitzGerald also strongly suggested that more AWS offerings are on the way.
“Back in May, we highlighted seven specific categories, so it is fair to assume we will continue to leverage the industry-leading capabilities of AWS to broaden out the portfolio of offerings,” he said.