Oracle Channel Chief to Partners: Master Exadata
At Oracle OpenWorld 2013, thousands of IT products and services are on display. But Oracle (ORCL) Senior VP Thomas LaRocca has a simple message for North America channel partners: Whether you started your business focused on hardware or software, begin the march toward the Exadata Database Machine. Here’s why.
When Oracle began its Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) in June, the company shifted its go-to-market approach with channel partners, LaRocca told The VAR Guy today. Indeed, the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) increasingly rewards partners for selling Oracle on Oracle — that is, Oracle software atop Oracle’s own hardware.
“We’re rewarding partners for that behavior,” said LaRocca. “And frankly, we need more partners selling Exadata. We need them invested and building competencies in the Exadata area. If you don’t have both hardware and software competencies, you wouldn’t have the confidence and ability to do Exadata.”
At the same time, Oracle has been driving ISVs to optimize their solutions for Exadata — as part of a broader push called the Exastack program. True believers include Eagle Investment Systems, a provider of financial services technology and a subsidiary of BNY Mellon. The company’s Eagle V12.1 solution suite has achieved Oracle Exadata Optimized status through OPN.
How can VARs plug into Exadata and Oracle’s ISV network? In recent months, LaRocca’s group has doubled the number of technical experts available to help train and support partners. The result: Oracle can help partners to map out initial solutions for customers, LaRocca asserts. “Once you close your first deal you’ll feel pretty good about getting that second deal with less help from us,” LaRocca pointed out.
He concedes that some partners won’t master the total hardware-software solution near-term. That’s why Oracle is seeing many hardware and software partners working together on deals.
LaRocca, an HP veteran, has been with Oracle for more than a year now. Without mentioning Hewlett-Packard by name, LaRocca said Oracle partners are focused on value rather than volume. “We’re not selling 1 million printers per month. With Oracle partners, the sale involves a C-level conversation.”
“Some companies in the channel are happy with their lifestyle businesses,” said LaRocca. “But if you look at where the volume market is heading then you’ll realize you need to make a shift to value solutions.”
The VAR Guy sees two sides to that argument:
- On the one hand, VARs may benefit from high-volume industries backed by thousands of open source developers who collaborate and deliver new innovations. An example here could involve Red Hat Linux on Intel x86, backed by new or emerging open source applications.
- On the other hand, Oracle may empower VARs with tightly integrated hardware and software that’s engineered to work together. Oracle President Mark Hurd yesterday noted that Oracle’s Engineered Systems sales jumped 60 percent in the most recent quarter, while the traditional x86 server market is flat or falling.
Obviously, LaRocca is urging partners to focus on the second bullet point — with a heavy emphasis on Exadata.