Novell Attacks Red Hat With Linux Migration Offer
Novell is reaching out to Red Hat customers and Microsoft channel partners with a new offer. The strategy: Train Microsoft solutions providers to replace Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Novell SUSE Linux. Here’s the scoop on the strategy.
Officially, Novell says it has a:
“new subscription and support program designed to aid customers making the transition from their existing third-party Linux* distribution to SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server.
The SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Subscription with Expanded Support program includes a three-year subscription to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server that provides technical support for a customer’s existing Linux deployments for up to two years while they make the transition to SUSE Linux Enterprise.”
Now for let’s cut to the chase. The VAR Guy spoke with Justin Steinman, VP of solution and product marketing at Novell, to get his unfiltered take on the Red Hat-to-Novell initiative. Here are some highlights.
- Attacking Red Hat: Novell took 3 percent market share from Red Hat last year without any formalized programs in place, Steinman claims. With this new initiative in place, Novell hopes to take another 3 percent to 5 percent market share from Red Hat in 2009, he adds.
- Seeking Microsoft Channel Partners: Moving customers from Red Hat to Novell SUSE Linux is not a direct sales play. Rather, Novell is seeking to recruit and train Microsoft solutions providers that can accelerate migrations from Red Hat to Novell.
“Whenever you’re going to migrate from A to B there’s a services opportunity,” says Steinman. “There are Red Hat solutions providers out there, but there are also Microsoft solutions providers looking to add a Linux practice. This is a way to start that practice.”
- Tools of the Trade: Novell will offer solutions providers a range of migration tools, technology guides and best practices to train partners on proper Linux migration strategies.
Novell says the migration program is available today and it involves a worldwide migration initiative.
So, did Novell really steal market share from Red Hat last year? And can the company really hope to take 3 to 5 percent market share from Red Hat over the next 12 months?
Frankly, The VAR Guy doesn’t have the answers to those questions. He does know that Novell has been growing faster than the overall Linux market. And Lenovo recently introduced servers with Novell SUSE Linux rather than Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
But let’s not weep for Red Hat. That company topped financial estimates in its most recent quarter, and many corporate CIOs see Red Hat as the most valuable software partner in terms of delivering bang for the buck.
Still, Novell’s close alignment with Microsoft — initially criticized by The VAR Guy — seems to be paying dividends as Novell finds itself in more and more corporate data centers. Now, Microsoft solutions providers could give Novell another boost in the IT channel.
How will Red Hat respond? The VAR Guy just sent the company a note, and he’s hoping to instigate an open source brawl that benefits customers and the channel. Competition, folks, is a good thing.