UPDATED 17:00 EDT / JUNE 23 2020

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Q&A: Tech Data sees golden opportunity in edge computing

As a strategic channel partner of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.Tech Data Corp. lends a hand to better position the tech giant’s evolving portfolio of networking, security and internet of things services  — from helping drive the new wave of intelligent edge computing to assisting in hybrid-cloud solutions. The Tech Data’s HPE team is now seeing a golden opportunity at the edge, especially during 2020’s radical times.

“We believe that, increasingly, the predominance of use cases in compute and analytics is going to move to the edge,” according to Colin Blair (pictured, left), vice president of sales and marketing, IoT and intelligent solutions, at Tech Data. “HPE has got a great portfolio for not just on-premise high-performance computing, but also hybrid cloud computing. And when we get into the edge with Edgeline and into networking with [HPE] Aruba and its devices that need to be digitized and sensorized. It is a really great partnership.” 

Blair and David Smith (pictured, right), HPE presales field solutions architect at Tech Data, spoke with Lisa Martin, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the HPE Discover Virtual Experience event. They discussed the partnership between Tech Data and HPE, edge computing, the HPE Aruba product line of networking, and vertical market opportunities. (* Disclosure below.)

[Editor’s note: The following has been condensed for clarity.]

In addition to the 40-plus years of partnership that Tech Data and HPE have, you’ve got over 200+ HPE resources. David, you’re one of those guys in the field. Talk to us about some of the things that you’re working on with Channel Partners.

Smith: What we do is, we can provide strong sales and technical enablement. If your team, for example, wants to better understand how to position the HPE portfolio, if they require assistance in architecting a secure performing IoT solution, we can help ensure that your technical team is fully capable of having that conversation. We can validate the proposed HPE solutions with the customers’ technical requirements and propose use cases. We can even assist in their customer calls.

In the very unique times that we’re living in 2020, how are you seeing intelligent edge expand even more? And what are some of the pressing opportunities that Tech Data and HPE’s IoT solutions together can address? 

Blair:  We’ve been investing in vertical markets since 2007. So, we’ve got a deep specialization in healthcare, industrial manufacturing, retail, the public sector. We’re able to leverage a lot of those vertical market capabilities, couple that with our HPE organization, and really drive specialized, repeatable solutions in these vertical markets.

David … give us insight into what you’re hearing from channel partners. Now virtually, what are some of the things that are of pressing importance in 2020? 

Smith: So from pressing importance … it’s all about the edge-computing space now. From a product perspective, as Colin had mentioned earlier, HPE has its Edgeline Converged Systems that have taken the functionality of [operational technology] and [information technology] — and combined it into a single edge processing compute solution. You couple that with the ability to configure components such as Tesla GPUs in specific Edgeline offerings to aid in things like real-time video processing and analytics. A perfect example of this is social distancing in the COVID-19 space.

So, it’s really best to think of Edgeline solutions as data center computing at the edge — a transition into the Aruba space. Aruba has also offerings aid in the IoT security, such as ClearPass Device Insight, which allows for device discovery of network and monitoring of wired and wireless devices. There’s also Aruba Asset Tracking and real-time location. And that’s particularly important in the healthcare space as well.

Colin, how ready are channel partners and the customers to rapidly pivot and start deploying more technologies at the edge to be able to deliver some of the capabilities?

Blair: I think that on the understanding side, the [channel] partners are there. You know, we’ve been talking about digital transformation in the channel for a couple of years, and I think what’s happened through the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has put a real spotlight on the need for those business outcomes to solve very specific problems.

And that’s one of the values that we serve in the channel. We’ve got a solution offering that we call our Solution Factory. We leverage a process to look outside the industry at Gartner Magic Quadrant solutions, Forrester Wave, G2 Crowd, top leaders and visionaries to understand what are the solutions that are in demand in these vertical markets. And then build out that reference architecture so that we know that there’s a solution that drives a bill of materials and a reference architecture that’s going to work, that clients are going to need. And then we can do it quickly.

David, talk about the engagement and the enablement piece that Colin talked about. How are you able to really keep a channel partner and their end-user customers engaged and interested in what you’re able to deliver through this new virtual world? 

Smith: We work in conjunction with our marketing teams to make sure that as new technologies in the IoT space, as well as within the HPE space, that our channel partners are educated and aware these solutions exist. I know for a fact that, for the majority of them, you get this consistent bombardment of new technology. But being able to actually have someone go out and explain it and then being able to correspondingly position its use case and its functionality and why it would provide value for your end customer is one of the benefits that Tech Data adds.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the HPE Discover Virtual Experience event. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the HPE Discover Virtual Experience. Neither Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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