Tony Madden, senior vice president and supplier business executive for Avnet Technology Solutions, Global
By Mark Cox
Avnet Technology Solutions, which was previously the largest worldwide global distributor of IBM’s x86 servers, has announced that as of the October 1 transfer of IBM’s System x server business to Lenovo, Avnet has been authorized globally as a Lenovo distributor. This will impact more than 40 countries worldwide.
“Both IBM and Lenovo have made this transition as seamless as possible,” said Tony Madden, senior vice president and supplier business executive for Avnet Technology Solutions, Global. The former IBM products now part of Lenovo which Avnet carries include System x, BladeCenter and Flex System blade servers and switches, x86-based Flex integrated systems, NeXtScale and iDataPlex servers and associated software, blade networking, and maintenance operations.
Avnet also offers value-added service offerings, such as logistics, sales, marketing, finance, and technical services, strategically paired with business, IT, lifecycle and education services, and in the short term, these will remain the same, notwithstanding some changes in the partner base that will be using them.
“Everything stays status quo on programs to the end of the year,” Madden said. “This is because everyone is looking for a smooth transition. It is our belief that former IBM channel partners will be pleased with Lenovo’s aggressiveness and go-go attitude. In particular, because the x86 was at the bottom of IBM’s stack and the top of Lenovo’s, we believe this will be great for the x86 channel partners.”
While the number of former IBM x86 partners is much larger than the number of legacy Lenovo server partners, Madden said Avnet will be a good fit for these legacy Lenovo partners, many of whom – like Lenovo itself – are relatively new to the server space.
“We make the complex very easy,” Madden said. “We are excited about working with partners who are newer to the server marketplace and to the higher-value sell. Our long history and capabilities of enablement will be very attractive to the partner community trying to move up into the stack. The value-add services we offer will be very attractive to the legacy Lenovo channel.”
Lenovo’s competitors in the server space have been trying to peel away former IBM x86 partners since the sale was announced, but Madden said Avnet is confident they can hold the old x86 partners.
“Any time there is a market movement, others will try to take advantage of it,” he said. “Our strategy is to continue to use the IBM x series team for Lenovo. They are well versed in how to handle competition. We think with Lenovo’s aggressive approach, that this line will grow with Lenovo.”
Lenovo’s own legacy server products are not covered by this agreement, but that may change in the future, Madden said.
“Right now the announcement is specific to x86, but we are in discussions and evaluations about the rest of the Lenovo portfolio,” he said.
Avnet will also continue to support the IBM solutions, services and programs that were not part of the Lenovo System x acquisition. This includes IBM’s Power Systems, Storage Systems, Power-based Flex servers, and PureApplication and PureData appliances, as well as IBM training services offered through Avnet Academy. Avnet will also keep providing partners with a wide range of IBM software, services and storage technologies to enable them to offer complete solutions.