Open Source Channel Alliance: Surprisingly Silent
When Synnex, Red Hat and roughly a dozen software companies launched the Open Source Channel Alliance in April 2009, The VAR Guy thought it was a watershed event for open source VARs. But fast forward to mid-2010, and the Open Source Channel Alliance has been largely silent in recent months. Here’s the update.
According to Synnex, the OSCA “is an association of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), in partnership with SYNNEX and Red Hat. We offer innovative open source software applications to SYNNEX’s customer base of solution providers and value added resellers.”
In theory, the OSCA allows open source ISVs to reach a potential 15,000 Synnex resellers. The effort, according to Synnex, offered VARs at least eight clear benefits:
- Access to SYNNEX’s linecard, including proven Red Hat solutions
- A single source to fulfill all IT needs, from hardware to software, with a focus on open source solutions
- An Alliance Program Manager who serves as your trusted open source advisor
- Certified Software Account Managers who help you find the right solution for your customer
- Outside/Field Sales Representatives who provide configuration tools, product availability, pricing, and more
- Strategic Business and Market Enablement—from planning to lead generation— that help you focus on your business
- Technical Assessment and Support that helps you overcome gaps in your capabilities
- Training and Sales Tools to create awareness of open source products, programs, and procedures
On paper, the OSCA sounds like a good idea. And several OSCA members tell The VAR Guy that they’re upbeat about long-term open source channel opportunities. But the Synnex-led OSCA effort ran into at least one problem: The Synnex reseller base doesn’t do much work in areas like traditional ERP, CRM and other enterprise applications. As a result, those same resellers have been slow to embrace open source alternatives to traditional enterprise apps, according to those familiar with the OSCA’s strategy.
To be sure, the OSCA and Synnex have enjoyed a few key open source milestones. Among them:
- Zmanda, the open source backup specialist, landed on the Synnex GSA schedule.
- The Open Source Channel Alliance and Synnex launched jump start appliances featuring Red Hat Enterprise Linux, JBoss middleware and a range of application options.
- Though not an OSCA announcement, Synnex in March 2010 agreed to distribute Digium’s Switchvox, which is based on the Asterisk Open Source IP PBX.
Still, the OSCA has been mostly silent in 2010. The website apparently hasn’t been updated since January 2010. And an OSCA support line operator says he’s not aware of any upcoming OSCA-related events on the calendar.
The VAR Guy has reached out to Synnex officials for a deeper dive/more complete update on the OSCA. And our resident blogger also is checking in with Tech Data’s Open Tech team, which also promotes open source solutions to channel partners. A source at Tech Data says the distributor has a “July-August” 2010 software announcement that will “complement our open source efforts.” Hmmm… The VAR Guy is intrigued.
No doubt, open source enjoys momentum in certain channel niches — as the recent Open Source 50 survey results point out. But as a whole The VAR Guy is starting to wonder: Just how much momentum does open source really have in the channel?
The VAR Guy will continue poking around the OSCA for answers…