Cisco has made its first western European distribution appointment for seven years as it looks to throw more weight behind its new datacentre products.
Following a tender process that began last summer, Cisco has selected EMC and VMware ally Magirus to push its Unified Computing System (UCS) server platform and Nexus switches across the region.
The appointment was unveiled as Cisco announced a return to growth in the three months to 23 January. Sales powered up eight per cent year on year to $9.8bn, topping Wall Street expectations and ending the networking giant's recent sales slump.
Magirus will be known as a Specialty Data Centre Distributor but will have access to the networking goliath's entire product range. The partnership covers 14 European countries including the UK, where Cisco also works through Comstor, Ingram Micro, Computer 2000/Azlan and SME specialist Northamber.
Avnet has been handed the same brief in North America.
Magirus predicted the deal would boost its €300m (£262m) turnover by a fifth over the next two years. It has also created a new Data Centre unit to give the partnership more focus.
Dominique Vanhamme, head of European Distribution and Resellers, Worldwide Channels at Cisco, saud the convergence of networking, storage and virtualisation meant the vendor had to look beyond its traditional distribution line-up.
“The three practices are moulding into one and to support that we needed to review our distribution landscape,” he told CRN.
Magirus’ new Data Centre unit is an amalgamation of two existing units – virtualisation and storage – although the distributor said its foundation would lead to the creation of 40 new positions across the company this year. The reshuffle means that its EMC, VMware and Cisco franchises will all sit in the same group.
Magirus chief operating officer Christian Magirus, said: “This partnership was interesting to us because it plays to our strengths in the datacentre. It would not have made sense for us to run against the Comstors of this world.”
Magirus will also offer resellers use of its datacentre assembly facility in Strasbourg, which addressed one of Cisco’s key selection criteria in the tender process.
Andrew Binding, vice president, Northern Europe region at Magirus, said: “No other distributor is able to unify EMC, VMware and Cisco technologies together and build solutions in one place. This gives us a unique position to stage those solutions for our resellers.”
Vanhamme said you would have to go back seven years to find the last time Cisco added to its western European distribution line-up, aside from the integration of its Linksys distributors two years ago.
But existing distributors were not convinced that Cisco needed another partner and Jon Pritchard, executive vice president at Comstor Worldwide, questioned how easily Magirus would gain traction in the Cisco channel.
“It will be interesting to see how they get on,” he said. “Our business is already ramped up in terms of UCS and all our people are certified to sell UCS. But the strength we have is selling the whole of Cisco’s product set not just a subset.”
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