Novell, Tech Data: Countering Open Source Channel Alliance?
Novell and Tech Data have inked a partnership to promote SUSE Linux and open source application appliances to VARs and channel partners. In some (but not all) ways, the partnership counters recent work by Red Hat and Synnex (co-founders of the Open Source Channel Alliance). Here’s the scoop.
First, The VAR Guy needs to set your expectations: Later today, our resident blogger will offer in-depth thoughts about Novell’s new SUSE Appliance Program for ISVs and channel partners. The SUSE Appliance Program has caught The VAR Guy’s attention, and he’ll explain why late today.
But this blog entry focuses on some (apparent) competitive maneuvering involving Red Hat and Synnex vs. Novell and Tech Data.
The drama began in April 2009, when Red Hat and Synnex launched the Open Source Channel Alliance in a bid to train roughly 15,000 Synnex resellers to sell, service and support nearly a dozen different open source applications. (Here’s The VAR Guy’s initial analysis of that effort.)
The bottom line: Distributors and software providers are seeking to gain mind share and market share as they train next-generation VARs on open source.
Here Comes Novell
Once Red Hat and Synnex launched the Open Source Channel Alliance, The VAR Guy hears, Tech Data dialed Novell in a bid for closer relations. Tech Data’s timing was perfect — since Novell was already working on some major open source partner initiatives of its own.
To wit, Novell today launched the SUSE Appliance Program. According to a Novell press release:
“the SUSE Appliance Program will transform the way ISVs package and distribute their software offerings, enabling them to quickly deliver existing applications to physical, virtual and cloud computing environments, reduce sales cycles and pursue new market opportunities.”
And what about the Novell-Tech Data relationship? Glad you asked. According to a Novell press release:
A key component of the [SUSE Appliance] program is a new partnership with Tech Data Corporation, which enables ISVs to market their appliances through the TechData network of value-added resellers.
In a prepared statement, Stacy Nethercoat, VP of software product marketing at Tech Data said:
“In addition to the SUSE Appliance Program helping ISVs more efficiently deliver their software applications, we see tremendous opportunity for VARs as well. VARs can provide this solution to end-user customers with in-house software development teams, enabling them to more efficiently deploy and manage applications enterprise-wide. Tech Data has teamed with Novell to train our software licensing specialists, who are ready to help VARs and ISVs take full advantage of the SUSE Appliance Program.”
Novell Chief Marketing Officer John Dragoon is quick to note that the Novell-Tech Data relationship is not exclusive. Similarly, Red Hat’s channel team has repeatedly told The VAR Guy that Red Hat continues to work with a range of distributors.
So let’s be clear: Even as they compete against one another, Novell and Red Hat continue to work with multiple distribution partners.
Still, it’s safe to expect some competition between the Novell-Tech Data and Red Hat-Synnex camps — especially as the groups seek to recruit and train resellers on open source. The big winners, once again, are VARs that are seeking to understand how to profit from open source.
Next up, watch for Red Hat and Synnex to quietly work the floor at CompTIA Breakaway (Aug. 3-6, Las Vegas), a major gathering of VARs and resellers. The VAR Guy expects to hear plenty of open source partner program chatter at that conference…