Canadian resellers can expect to see a localized channel program from Raritan Computer Inc. within the next month following the opening of its first office here Monday.

The Somerset, N.J.-based company, which manufactures keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) switches to manage multiple desktop

PCs from one location, has established its headquarters in Mississauga, Ont. Jerry Diakow, formerly of Oki Data Canada, has been appointed its country manager.

The move was welcomed by Guy Labonte, vice-president of sales at reseller Sustema Lanrack in Montreal, who said the vendor has picked the perfect time to manage its channel more closely.

“”Service was not what it used to be,”” he said. “”Something needed to be done.””

Raritan has a two-tier distribution system: Authorized resellers buy products direct from the company, while unauthorized resellers buy from Ingram Micro, which handles its devices in Canada.

Diakow said Raritan believes the worldwide market for enterprise KVM controls will grow to about US$1 billion by 2006. The industry is at about half that level today, he said, and Raritan believes Canada will grow at about the same rate as the rest of the world.

KVM customers not only include companies with multiple data centres but also those with remote offices using equipment that is difficult to manage, especially if they don’t have an on-site IT person, Diakow said.

“”The IT people need that visibility to those devices, because they don’t have the resources to send people in there on a regular basis,”” he said. “”They also want to keep costs down.””

Raritan has a VAR program in the United States, and Diakow said he will be adapting it to the Canadian market.

Authorized resellers at the entry level of the program will require at least one sales person and one technical person to be trained on Raritan products. The top level will require up to two or three people trained per office. Diakow said the company is looking for partners specializing in data centre design, network analysis and product management/installation experts.

In return, Raritan will provide discounts based on the level and revenue commitment, pre-sales support, access to technical telephone support (up to 24 x 7 at the top level), discounts for demo products, a co-op program, lead referrals and special Web site access.

Labonte said he wants to get his staffed trained on Raritan’s KVM-over-IP products, which will compete with units from rival Avocent Corp..

“”From what I hear, it’s going to be a superior product,”” he said. “”For people like us, we’ll sell whatever is best suited for the customer. We don’t see Raritan being not as good a company as Avocent, and we don’t see Avocent as necessarily (having) a better product.””

Raritan will add more staff in Canada soon, Diakow said.

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