Broadline distributor Computer 2000 (C2000) has opened a Cisco proof-of-concept lab to enable resellers to try product combinations before they commit resources to them.
C2000's reseller partners will now have access to the lab at the company's offices, where Cisco's and other vendors' networking products can be tested in a real-world environment.
The facility, jointly developed by C2000 and its Cisco professional services partner Devoteam Frontrunner, will help resellers convince customers about the savings to be made from the technologies.
Clive Hailstone, general manager of the networking and enterprise solutions division at C2000, said: "Customers are looking for definitive evidence that major investments in networking technology will produce positive returns and they are not prepared to take any chances."
Nick Watson, head of unified channels UK at Cisco, added that the end-to-end demonstration facility will benefit smaller resellers which can't afford to run their own labs.
"This is good for smaller resellers because they do not have the kind of facilities and financing to set up their own labs and, because they only require them on the odd occasion, it is not always a viable investment," he said.
Mark O'Hara, managing director at City-based networking reseller Hydra, which has it own labs, explained that he has little faith in the role of distributors in the channel but that, if resellers are given unfettered access to testing facilities, it is a good thing.
"I do not think that distributors add much value for resellers, but if C2000 is doing what it says it is it will help resellers without question," he said.
"If the reseller's technical staff understand the technology, the use of labs will be very useful for proving concepts to customers."
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