Ingram Micro has unveiled a new technical lab facility that it hopes will help to cement its credibility as a value distribution player.
Housed at the broad-based distributor's headquarters in the Sydney suburb of Rosebery, the room contains about $750,000 of technology jointly funded by the distributor and its vendor partners.
It is dominated by equipment from the project's major sponsor, HP, including Linux and Unix server arrays, storage sub systems and tape libraries. Rapid blade server deployment, high availability and data management, virtualisation, email archival and retrieval, SSL remote access and wide area file services can also be demonstrated at the facility.
Complementary vendor partners on display include VMware, Symantec, F5, Brocade, Kingston and APC. Ingram's enterprise business manager, Stuart Ellis, said resellers could use the lab to train staff or bring end-users in to see proof of concept demonstrations and test their applications.
"My message to partners is that they should use this resource like it was their own," he said. "It can help them to achieve greater penetration into an account without additional cost."
The facility is closely aligned with the distributor's Enterprise Technology Solutions (ETS) division, which was created under the Tech Pacific banner a couple of years ago to help it tap into the higher margins that are associated with complex solutions.
The merger had been good for ETS, according to Ellis, because Ingram had been strong in enterprise software while Tech Pac was the dominant infrastructure player in the market.
But he said it had been tough to break down vendor and reseller perceptions of Ingram as a time and place distributor during the past couple of years.
"With Ingram, resellers normally want to know if we have a product in stock, what it costs and how long it would take us to get it out," Ellis said. "ETS deals can take anywhere between four weeks and 12 months to complete so it is a very different sales cycle.
"Partners engage us to help them design and scope more complex solutions that apply technology to specific business issues. We can help resellers to identify up-selling and cross-selling opportunities. We have already done some high level projects but now we are ready to turn the heat up."
ETS enabled Ingram to focus on growth markets such as storage, mobility and virtualisation.
A logical next step, Ellis said, would be to build a services element around technologies like virtualisation. Since its inception, he estimated ETS had worked with more than 4000 resellers.
While the division currently accounted for just 5 per cent of Ingram revenues in Australia, Ellis said his long-term goal was to make up a quarter of its business.