Avnet Launches Cloud Toolset For AWS, SoftLayer Accounts

Avnet Technology Solutions has rolled out a new cloud toolset aimed at helping channel partners manage and track Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM SoftLayer accounts.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based distributor said the offering will allow enterprise organizations to monitor cloud usage across multiple departments on a single screen.

That cloud computing services can be purchased by individuals within an organization makes it extremely challenging for companies to obtain a comprehensive view of their cloud spending, according to Tim FitzGerald, Avnet's vice president of cloud services.

[Related: Avnet Rises On Quarterly Results]

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The toolset was formally launched Wednesday following roughly two months of channel partners using it with existing cloud customers, FitzGerald said.

Avnet opted to start with AWS and SoftLayer because, two of the industry-leading cloud providers. Moving forward, FitzGerald said the distributor may incorporate additional cloud partners into its toolset based on the challenges businesses face and customer demand.

The toolset's intuitive dashboards, customizable reports and multitier view of usage and costs should help solution providers advise end users on how to optimize their spending across all services, departments and providers. FitzGerald said he's not aware of any other distributors with a similar cloud toolset offering.

The greatest value will be realized by end users deploying both AWS and SoftLayer since it will merge usage data from both cloud providers into one invoice, FitzGerald said. Customers using a single provider should still benefit from a more robust assimilation and distillation of their usage data, FitzGerald said.

Although the cloud toolset is initially available only in the United States and Canada, FitzGerald said Avnet wants to make sure its channel partners can support their end users as they move into the cloud.

An accelerating rate of end user transformation to the cloud will make Avnet's toolset increasingly essential for solution providers to remain relevant, FitzGerald said.

FitzGerald anticipates large and mid-market customer getting the most value out of the cloud toolset, but noted smaller customer can also be reached through a Software-as-a-Service model.

Solution providers can boost margins by packaging in their own subscription-based services or incorporating third-party services, he said.

FitzGerald said some of the more popular areas for wraparound offerings include backup and recovery, testing and development, data center as a service, productivity and deployment.

The toolset employs a subscription model, ensuring a recurring revenue stream for channel partners, he said.

Andy Pratt, president of Unique Digital, a Houston-based Avnet channel partner, said the devil is in the details with an offering like this.

The cloud toolset will work, Pratt said in an email, if end users are willing to pay enough money each month to support all of the infrastructure and overhead costs with a little margin left over.