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Axis President: Big Bets On Emerging Technology Are Driving Strong Growth

The New England solution provider has been an early adopter of hyper-convergence and software-defined networking.


Axis Business Solutions is seeing major sales growth as it breaks ground in the solution provider world through focusing on emerging technologies such as hyper-converged infrastructure and software-defined networking.

Hyper-convergence and SDN will be front and center Thursday and Friday at the annual Axis Business Solutions Summit, which is attended by Axis clients and held in Ogunquit, Maine.

For 2016 Axis is expecting strong sales growth of 40 percent, said Peter Estes (pictured), president of the Portsmouth, N.H.-based solution provider. That follows 2015 sales growth of 31 percent at Axis, which has 35 employees.

The emphasis on emerging technologies "is having a major impact on our growth rates," said Estes, whose company shifted its focus to emerging technologies in 2012.

[Related: Why These 3 Disruptive Tech Vendors See Channel Partners As Indispensable]

Axis was an early adopter in the channel world for hyper-converged infrastructure, for one.

Westborough, Mass.-based SimpliVity and Mountain View, Calif.-based HyperGrid are two hyper-convergence vendors that Axis partnered with early on (both will have executives speaking at Axis’ summit this week).

"A lot of people are just now establishing relationships with hyper-convergence [vendors]," Estes said. "We were on the front end of it."

Axis is among the most active solution providers with SimpliVity, which has raised $276 million in venture capital funding and sports a valuation of $1 billion.

Axis has also been working with HyperGrid — formerly GridStore — for the past 18 months, since the company was in beta, said Axis Vice President of Alliance and Development Joe Paquet.

HyperGrid has raised $45.5 million in total funding, most recently hauling in a $19 million round in January.

In addition to driving business growth, focusing on emerging technologies benefits Axis in other ways, too, Estes said.

"We end up with these very tight relationships with these manufacturers," he said.

Axis also delivers hyper-convergence solutions on infrastructure from Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Lenovo, which leverages Nutanix technology; and Dell.

Axis is thus able to deliver hyper-convergence for "just about any client’s standards," Estes said.

Still, it’s not necessarily obvious which emerging technology areas are worth investing in for a solution provider.

In the case of hyper-convergence, though, Estes said it was the way in which the technology addresses so many issues for end users all at once.

"This technology answers a lot of questions and solves a lot of problems for that midmarket client," Estes said.

Broadly speaking, Axis saw in hyper-convergence a "shift in the way people would manage their IT infrastructure," he said. "It wasn’t a ’change,’ it wasn’t an ’enhancement.’ It was a whole new way of delivering IT. … This was a seismic shift."

Newer to the IT scene — but also holding huge potential, according to the team at Axis — is software-defined networking.

Among the vendors appearing at the Axis Business Solutions Summit is Viptela, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of software-defined wide area network (WAN) technology. Viptela has raised about $110 million in venture capital funding, including a $75 million round in May.

The Viptela technology "allows Axis to help build carrier-agnostic, policy-controlled and cost-effective WANs for our clients," Estes said. "While reducing overall expense, it layers on end-user manageability, security and insight that was previously unachievable in our market."

There’s no aversion to working with traditional IT vendors at Axis, of course — it’s just not the solution provider’s approach.

"We have to have the ability to service traditional technologies, and we do. Where those are a fit, we promote those," Estes said.

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