Solution Providers See 2007 Sales Windfall, for one, is expecting 50 percent to 60 percent sales growth next year, in large part because of an aggressive managed-services initiative, said David Dadian, CEO of the HoHoKus, N.J.-based solution provider. The robust outlook comes after underwent a costly, nine-month evaluation of the major MSP platforms this year, which ultimately led the solution provider to select LPI Level Platforms.

"I think we are going to see the fruits of our labor in the early second half of next year with an explosion in sales," Dadian said.

Dadian also is expecting strong sales from his partnership with antispam software maker Sendio. One sign of the times: estimates that about 70 percent of its sales this year will have come from services and 30 percent from product sales, he said. Five years ago, only 40 percent of sales came from services, he noted.

Jay Tipton, vice president of Technology Specialists, a Fort Wayne, Ind.-based solution provider, said he's also shifting his business to capture more managed-services sales in 2007. He said he's focusing exclusively on strategic issues -- rather than day-to-day operations -- to drive sales next year.

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"I think 2007 is going to be a lot better than this year," Tipton said. "We're looking to double our sales. Right now, I'm trying to bring a new salesperson on board. The key for us is getting that services mix correct. We're looking at doing projects that will drive up the utilization rates of our techs."

Part of Technology Specialists' 2007 game plan is to get IBM's blade server certification and VMware's virtualization software certification, Tipton added.

Leonard DiCostanzo, business technology officer at Turnkey Computer, Staten Island, N.Y., also is targeting the virtualization market and said he expects to possibly triple his sales in 2007. On the virtualization end, Turnkey Computer is partnering with open-source software maker XenSource, he said.

"I'm very optimistic about 2007," DiCostanzo said. "People always need solutions to their business problems. The market is ripe to solve problems with new and emerging technology." For example, he said, many companies are looking to consolidate servers through the use of virtualization software from vendors like XenSource, which is in the process of recruiting solution provider partners.

Rafael Santiani, vice president of sales for the Americas at XenSource, said the software maker has a 100 percent channel-focused effort that aims to provide a much easier installation solution at a fraction of the cost of competitive virtualization offerings.

"This is a big market opportunity for VARs," Santiani said. "It's a $15 billion to $20 billion opportunity by 2008, and only 6 percent of the market is virtualized."

Manuel Villa, president of Via Technology, a San Antonio-based solution provider, said he sees a strong pipeline of business for 2007. Villa said Via has fine-tuned its business to specialize in the health-care industry.

"I wish I would have specialized when I started the business," Villa said.

Acolyst, a Fredericksburg, Va.-based VAR specializing in the government market, aims to double its sales in 2007, said Ellie Nazemoff, president and CEO. Earlier this year, Acolyst opened a new solution center where it can demonstrate full solutions for customers in areas ranging from storage and network management to security.

"Customers want end-to-end solutions, and we're providing proof of concept with the solution center so they can test the whole solution before they buy it," Nazemoff said.