Avnet's Cloud Marketplace will offer resellers several advantages over the competition, the distributor has promised ahead of its scheduled launch in the UK next month.
With Arrow launching its Arrowsphere platform in 2012 and Ingram recently bolstering its cloud offering by acquiring Ensim and assets from Parallels, Avnet Technology Solutions recently admitted it has taken a quieter approach than some rivals in the cloud market.
But now the distributor is turning up the volume with Avnet Cloud Marketplace, a "fully integrated marketplace with billing capabilities" that will be rolled out across Europe over the next six months. The UK will be one of the first countries to go live in early July, Avnet exclusively revealed to CRN.
Miriam Murphy, senior vice president for the North region at Avnet Technology Solutions, insisted that the Avnet Cloud Marketplace will offer resellers something different from the existing alternatives.
"We have spent a lot of time honing this to offer something differentiated in the market and we believe we have a couple of unique differentiators," she said.
"That's in its ability to offer both subscription- and consumption-based models, and in the ability for partners to bundle third-party cloud products with Avnet's own services. The other area that's a differentiator for us is the ability to offer it as an own-branded storefront for our partners."
Avnet Cloud Marketplace formally launched in the US last November but Murphy said the internally developed platform has existed in the States for about 18 months and is "well established, well tested and well deployed".
"We've supported a lot of cloud business over the last two or three years but this will accelerate that and allow us to offer more rapid deployment of cloud-based solutions," Murphy (pictured) said.
Products from across Avnet TS' portfolio, including from major vendors such as IBM, Oracle, Riverbed and IBM SoftLayer, will be available through the platform from day one, with other technologies added over time, Murphy said.
"We will also be adding some new players into the mix," she said.
Analyst GfK asserted last week that distributors have an important role to play in the cloud market as Ingram's arch rival Tech Data announced its first real foray into the cloud market under its Business Transformation Programme.
Asked where distribution fits into the cloud world, Murphy said it would be consistent with the role it has always played.
"As the industry has evolved, distribution has always evolved with it. From our perspective, the role we will play in cloud will just be an alternative route to market, or route to purchase, in terms of the model, rather than fundamentally changing the role of distribution," she said. "That said, it will allow us to reach a much broader mid-tier partner base in a much more intimate way."
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