MEA Channel : Racking and cabinets Q&A
The racks and cabinets that house servers and other enterprise infrastructure
hardware do not receive much in the way of attention, possibly because they might not be the most
glamorous of products. Channel Middle East talks to major racking and cabinet vendors to find out
if image is everything or if there are more margins to be made from racks than meets the eye.
Q. Racking and cabinets are perhaps not the most glamorous of products to be involved with. How do you get the reseller channel interested in such products?
Though not glamorous, racks or cabinets are the entry point for resellers to go into a customer’s
business critical infrastructure requirement. They offer better margins to resellers, and APW
President also offers good quality and support. In terms of incentives, our channel partners are
qualified as Platinum, Gold or Silver, depending on their offtake, which entitles them to special
privileges. For example, Platinum partners may get extra credit period, free delivery at site (UAE)
and special pricing.
Q. What is your current channel strategy in the Middle East and how do you intend to develop it over the next year?
Our strategy is to focus on giving more advertising and visibility through promotions for the brand.
We also have a strong local presence to assure timely and ongoing support, with an office in the
SAIF Zone, Sharjah, FTZ. The present channel network consists of one premier distributor and
others reaching out through a reseller network of over 100 resellers. We provide our products in
FKD or SKD condition, kept ready to deliver. In the next year, we have plans to add a system of
sub-distributors, where the focus will be on stocking and keeping products ready to ship.
Q. What skills do resellers need to be able to successfully sell cabinets and racking?
Resellers should have business and technical skills. On the business side, they must have
thorough knowledge of the customer’s applications, as well as their business strategy and
expansion plans. On the technical side, they should have pre-sales application engineering skills
for configuring the most appropriate solutions. They should be up-to-date on technology
(especially power and cooling at the rack level). Lastly, they should have system integrator skills –
they should be able to install, mount and assemble our rack systems, and service it with
Q. What level of value-add can the channel include in a rack sale?
APW President’s range of racks and enclosure systems offers a host of value add-ons. These
include solutions for monitoring and control of power and environment inside the rack through
remote infrastructure management (Sinetica), and a full range of accessories such as cable
management systems, LCD keyboards, fire-alarm systems and power strips.
Q. What challenges do resellers face when it comes to selling racking and cabinets?
Two major challenges are product availability on demand and lack of technical skills. To make life
easier for resellers, we have minimized these pain points by ensuring ready availability of
high-quality products, backed by comprehensive spot demonstrations and training. Our focus is on
optimal stocking, technical support and training.
Q. If racks are predominantly sold as part of a bundle or wider implementation how important are they to the overall sale?
Racks and cabinets are the vital backbone of the typical IT / Telecom infrastructure. They house
the operating network brains of the customer’s business. They offer administrative ease, security
and safety for the most valuable business and knowledge assets of a customer.
Q. What trends will shape the growth of the rack market in the Middle East in the coming year?
We see a boom in wired network growth, as well as higher penetration of broadband and
networking across the business spectrum. In the IT Sector, new technologies like blade servers,
virtualization and infrastructure consolidation will change the profile of the rack market and drive
innovation. Telecom sector growth will require more outdoor and datacenter cabinets with
customized features to handle environment and load challenges. APW President has got several
contracts recently for such products in the MEA region.