Google partners with Ingram to boost enterprise search

Google signed a distribution deal with Ingram Micro to boost sales of its enterprise search products

Ingram Micro will distribute Google's Search Appliance and Google Mini enterprise search devices, a deal intended to accelerate sales of the products, the companies announced Wednesday.

Google, which has sold about 9,000 of the devices to date, expects the distribution deal with Ingram to boost sales in particular among small and medium-size businesses.

Ingram, with its distribution network of more than 165,000 retailers and resellers worldwide, is also expected to help increase sales internationally, as well as in the government and education sectors.

"The only way to meet the growing demand for the products is to go through channels," said Rodrigo Vaca, channel marketing manager of the Google Enterprise unit.

Vaca declined to provide details of the effect Google hopes the deal will have on sales. "We expect this to have a significant impact," he said.

Google already has deals in place with regional distributors in Japan, Australia and parts of Latin America, and expects the Ingram relationship to be complementary to those arrangements, Vaca said.

The Ingram deal will initially focus on the U.S. and will expand to other regions like Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific later this year, he said.

So far, Google has sold the products almost exclusively via its own direct sales staff in the U.S. and Europe. "Our strategy is to have our direct sales force work hand-in-hand with the channel," he said.

As part of the agreement, Ingram will provide sales assistance, marketing resources, credit help and technical support to the resellers that carry the Google products.

The Ingram deal isn't exclusive, Vaca said.

In a news release, Ingram, which distributes hundreds of thousands of IT products from about 1,400 suppliers, said the deal strengthens the menu of wares it can offer to its channel partners.

The Search Appliance and Google Mini are server-side hardware devices loaded with Google's search engine software designed to let companies index and find information stored on corporate servers.

Although Google generates most of its revenue from search engine advertising in the consumer market, company officials have said they are committed to its Enterprise unit, which, in addition to the search devices, also markets business software.

The Google Mini, designed for small and medium size businesses or departments within large organizations, starts at US$1,995 with a capacity to index 50,000 documents. It tops out at 300,000 documents.

The Search Appliance, which is more powerful and has more features, starts at US$30,000 with a 500,000-document capacity and tops out at 30 million documents.

The Google products typically cost less than more sophisticated enterprise search products and are designed to be easier to install, manage and use.

However, analysts generally agree that the Google products don't match the feature set of high-end enterprise search products from companies like Autonomy and Fast Search & Transfer.

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