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 switches

to manage multiple desktop PCs with one keyboard, mouse and monitor, has established its headquarters in Mississauga, Ont. The firm has appointed Jerry Diakow, formerly of Oki Data, as its country manager.

Raritan sells both directly through authorized resellers on a direct basis, and through unauthorized resellers via distributor such as Ingram Micro, which handles its products in Canada.

Diakow said Raritan believes the worldwide market for enterprise KVM 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.

Guy Labonte, vice-president of sales at Raritan reseller Sustema Lanrack in Montreal, said Raritan had 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.””

KVM customers not only include companies with multiple data centres but 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 that specialize 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 rival Avocent.

“”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 be adding more staff in Canada soon, Diakow said.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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