Tech Data Gets OK To Carry IBM Midrange Storage Line

Tech Data will compete with specialty distributors Arrow Electronics' SupportNet Division, Avnet Hall-Mark, Pioneer-Standard Electronics and Bell Microproducts selling some of the products in IBM's closed sourcing model under which solution providers must select one distributor for procurement, the executives said. Some products are available through open sourcing, according to IBM.

Tech Data will carry IBM's LTO line of drives, auto-loaders and libraries; FAStT arrays; and SAN products.

Tech Data's IBM Storage Lineup

>> LTO product family of tape drives, autoloaders and libraries
>> FAStT storage arrays
>> Cisco MDS 9509 multilayer director and MDS 9216 multilayer fabric switches (sold through IBM)>> F08, F16, F32 and M12 SAN switches
>> McData Sphereon 4500 and 3232 switches (sold through IBM)
>> Inrange FC/9000 (sold through IBM)

"I'm hoping they can capitalize on their existing reseller base to capture incremental revenue for IBM," said Denise Buonaiuto, worldwide vice president of business partner sales for IBM Systems Group.

Ingram Micro and Synnex Information Technologies are expected to soon carry the products too, distribution sources said.

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As part of its launch, Tech Data plans to give $4,000 in marketing funds to each of the first 25 solution providers that sign with the distributor. The money includes $1,000 for training vouchers, $1,000 for TD Agency marketing material, $1,500 to host a seminar announcing IBM storage and a $500 spiff to the reseller's sales rep that closes the first deal.

Manchester Technologies, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based solution provider, just got its authorization for IBM storage and plans to sign with Tech Data, said Barry Steinberg, president and CEO.

"IBM is a welcome addition. There are [end users] who say they only want to deal with Big Blue. It's a quality product, and Tech Data is a quality house," Steinberg said.

The $4,000 doesn't hurt either, Steinberg added.

Tech Data also has secured free 45-day credit terms through IBM Global Finance that will be available for an undetermined time, said Roy Appelbaum, vice president of networking product marketing at Tech Data.

Tech Data picks up the IBM line just weeks after being excluded from Hewlett-Packard's enhanced HP Integrated Partner (HIP) program. Tech Data carries HP midrange storage and expects to be named to the HIP program early in 2004, Tech Data executives said.

"The [IBM deal and HIP program] have nothing to do with each other," said Joe Serra, vice president of software and systems product marketing at Tech Data.

Solution providers do not need technical certifications to sell the IBM products, but to be authorized they must have at least three employees on staff and two letters of recommendation from customers regarding their storage expertise, Appelbaum said.

At least one solution provider was surprised at the level of products Tech Data is adding. "I know they've been trying to get [higher-end] IBM products for a long time," said Jerry Schmitt, president of Dempsey Business Systems, Irvine, Calif.