Red Hat’s recent renewed ardor for the channel should hardly come as a surprise. But its sincerity is, at best, forced. Here’s why:
- Red Hat needs help getting into smaller enterprises. While partnership with OEMs like IBM and HP helps get Red Hat in the door, it needs partnerships with VARs and systems integrators to help generate services revenue — especially for the applications that it acquired with JBOSS. IBM has its own open-source play in the apps space with WebSphere and DB2, so that relationship can’t be effectively extended to JBOSS’ Hibernate and other application components.
- Whatever opportunity there is to displace Windows in the SMB market on the desktop and server (thanks to the bloat of Vista and the continued wait for Longhorn Server), Red Hat won’t be able to exploit it without channel partners. Small and midmarket companies looking to extend the life of existing hardware aren’t in the sweet spot for Red Hat’s current route to market; only partners who have existing relationships with those companies can get them in the door with any consistency.
- Oracle’s entry into the Linux space with its own “distro”, and increased pressure from Novell’s SuSE (and Ubuntu on the desktop) through many of the same channels Red Hat currently exploits could take a chunk out of Red Hat’s growth curve.
So, Red Hat needs the channel now more than ever. But does the channel need Red Hat? Red Hat’s recently-announced Certified Service Provider program provides a valuable stamp of approval, but so far Red Hat has only invited six partners into it. And the remainder of Red Hat’s partner program doesn’t do much to distinguish the company competitively.
So, who needs who more?
New-version aficionados of all camps are in for a treat today, with Microsoft and Red Hat both showcasing new products on the west coast.
Much of the news from Redmond focused around Microsoft CRM. The company’s next version, code named Titan, will be available as software as a service (SaaS) on-site, with partners hosting customized SaaS implementations and Microsoft itself hosting a broader edition, as Salesforce.com does now. How successful that product will be will in part depend on the growth of SaaS for CRM in general; the numbers look good, but it’s still too soon to see how far they’ll go.
Microsoft says its next version of CRM will increase usability and integration with Office, and CEO Steve Ballmer will be demoing the Dynamics Live SaaS edition at Convergence 2007 today. The company also announced new versions of its Dynamics ERP software, which it plans to release in June.
For open source fans, Red Hat Enterprise Linux release 5 went live today, and the company took advantage of the day to reemphasize its channel strategy. The new version offers features like increased virtualization capabilities, which Red Hat says will help companies use their IT resources more efficiently.
VMware ESX 3.0 upgrades stall on license costs, VAR says Longstanding VMware ESX shops are miffed by the high cost of upgrading to Virtual Infrastructure 3, one VMware reseller says.
Cisco announces agreement to acquire NeoPath Networks Cisco Systems today announced a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held NeoPath Networks, the leading provider of high performance and highly scalable file storage management solutions. NeoPath’s patented SMART virtualization technology and its File Director family of products simplify the management of network attached storage (NAS) and other file servers. [Cisco]
Microsoft and speech recognition: The final frontier? If the rumors are true that Microsoft is in talks to acquire Tellme Networks, Microsoft’s next big push in the area of Unified Communications could involve voice search. [eWEEK]
Apple megapatch plugs 45 security holes Update for Mac OS X includes a number of fixes for zero-day vulnerabilities released as part of two high-profile bug-hunting campaigns. [CNET]
HP storage revenues sink, reports IDC According to the latest IDC research, HP shows declining revenues in several storage categories; EMC, HDS, Symantec and NetApp show surprising results.[SearchStorage.com]
Windows Server 2003 SP2 is out Microsoft has made available for download service pack (SP) 2 for the 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003.[eWEEK]
Red Hat hopes to solidify lead with new Linux Red Hat hopes its latest release will lock in its position as the Linux leader as more companies vie for a piece of the competitive market. [CNET]
RSA names Citrix exec as new channel chief RSA, the security division of EMC, has tapped a former Citrix executive to fill the newly created position of director of worldwide channels. [ChannelWeb]
Intel intros low-voltage quad-core Xeons ahead of AMD Intel’s first foray into low-voltage processors may have been a flop, but data center managers’ increased interest in power efficiency bodes well for its new low-voltage Xeons.[SearchDataCenter.com]
AT&T to spend $750 mln on global network in 2007 AT&T Inc. said on Tuesday it will spend more than $750 million in 2007 to expand its global communications network for corporate customers, an 89 percent boost over last year, as customer companies increasingly do business abroad. [Reuters]
Monster ties up with help-wanted service Monster Worldwide Inc., a leading job-search Web site, is taking its latest step to forge partnerships with traditional media by linking with a technology company that runs the online help-wanted sites for more than 200 newspapers. [Reuters]
Dell, Alienware offer 1TB single-drive upgrade Dell and its Alienware subsidiary have begun offering buyers the chance to configure new gaming desktop PCs with
Hitachi’s 1TB hard drive – enough space to store an almost inconceivable quantity of digital stuff. [TheReg]
On the eve of Red Hat’s announcement of release 5 of its enterprise Linux operating system, the company is reaffirming its commitment to the channel.
That commitment is relatively new. The company’s vice president of North American channel sales, Mark Enzweiler, told SearchITChannel.com last month that although Red Hat has had partners in the past, it has never had a formal, unified channel strategy — a gap Enzweiler said he was brought on board specifically to address in October.
Red Hat launched a new Certified Service Provider (CSP) program last month to a select few of its partners which the company says will help them achieve a faster turnaround, and thus higher profits, for certain core services .
Sometime later this month, Red Hat will be introducing a program to help partners communicate with one another, said Brett Hunter, Red Hat’s director or partner marketing .
It is also upgrading its partner portal Web site soon, including a new subscription center that will track partners’ customers and remind those partners when a client’s subscription needs renewing. That will not only make it easier for partners to get cuts on renewal fees, but will give them a good excuse to talk to customers and potentially up-sell to them, Hunter said.
Red Hat also hired executives to develop its partner program abroad, bringing in Petra Heinrich to lead its European channel in January and Masatsugu Koketsu to build up the channel in Japan earlier this month.
I read in Ryan Naraine’s Zero Day blog this week that HD Moore, hacker extraordinaire, is building a tracking system capable of pinpointing specific workstations that searched for and downloaded child pornography.
Pedophiles using Onion router Tor can no longer count on anonymity. Moore’s countermeasures are sparking debate, however. According to some, Tor developers should have anticipated that this anonymity would lead to sneaky or criminal activities. That’s the whole point of routers like these.
But it warms my heart to know that top-tier hackers are using their skills to fight crime. According to Moore, his “server is able to determine the internal address of the user, the external address from which they access the internet, and the ISP they use to provide DNS resolution, as well as the IP address they come from through the Tor network. This information, along with the unique tracking ID, allows me to identify a specific workstation within an organization or residence.”
Hack away, HD Moore.
Windows Vista vulnerable to long-time attack method A researcher explains that a well-known attack carried out though StickyKeys, can be exploited in Windows Vista. [SearchSecurity.com]
Cisco, IBM to merge maintenance services abroad Cisco Systems Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. said on Monday they will combine technical support services for mutual customers, highlighting increasingly close ties between the network equipment maker and computer services company. [Reuters]
Apple slip exposes eight-core Mac Pro Quad-core Xeon machine imminent? [TheReg]
Few woes mark computers’ daylight shift This weekend’s early switch to daylight-saving time was billed as a little re-enactment of the Y2K computer problem at the turn of the millennium. And as it happened, the daylight bug appeared to have equally minor results. [AP]
Time change brings ‘nightmare’ issues with Outlook, calendars Microsoft officials say the worst of the problems regarding the daylight-saving time change have passed, but some customers are still complaining of “nightmare” issues. [eWEEK]
DST switch offers lessons learned Those who survived the daylight-saving time deadline offer some words of wisdom in case the laws change yet again.[SearchWinIT.com]
The IT industry may be heading toward a state in which vendors and their channel partners focus more on service than software, according to a new report by Forrester Research. The report predicts that a confluence of four factors — commoditization, miniaturization, industrialization, and globalization — will drive major vendors to refine their products in the next five years, resulting in software that’s mostly pre-configured and requires less tinkering by system integrators (SIs) and IT departments.
The effect will be most pronounced at the high-end level of enterprise software, according to Andrew Parker, a vice president and research director at Forrester who co-wrote the report. But even smaller, regional players could be affected, especially as vendors of enterprise software look downstream in an effort to sell beyond an increasingly saturated high-end.
The increased level of pre-configured software could push some SIs back towards more of a VAR operation, with more sales employees and fewer technicians, Parker said. He added, however, that it is too soon to be sure of such a shift. Other SIs could end up as software brokers — essentially mixing and matching products for their clients — or focus on a specific niche — either a vertical industry or a specific software component.
A new report by IDC shows EMC Corporation as the leading revenue-generator worlwide in the external disk-storage systems market at 22.1%. In second place is IBM with 18.6% surpassing Hewlett Packard Corp. which posted 13.7% in the fourth quarter of 2006. IDC’s figures for 2006 also revealed EMC had a 21.9 market share, with IBM at 15.1% and HP’s with 14.3%.
For disk storage, IBM has been behind HP for about a decade and only last year closed the gap.
IBM also moved up in the software market, with revenue growth of 10.3% in the fourth quarter of 2006 compared to a year earlier and 28.2% for 2006, compared to 2005.
IDC’s numbers shore up a Gartner, Inc. report published last week that showed IBM leading HP in worldwide external controller-based (ECB) disk storage in 2006, posting a 15.8% market share to HP’s 13.1%. Another IDC report covering the worldwide server systems market, which was published in February, showed IBM in the number one spot with HP, Sun Microsystems, Dell and Fujitsu following behind in that order.
Some interesting Linux Ubuntu news came out of France today. Citing reduced cost and added value to users, the French parliament has decided to make the switch from Windows based machines to Linux Ubuntu. The contract was awarded to two open source software resellers, Linagora and Unilog. This deal is probably as close to El Dorado as these two resellers will ever come.
Creating reoccurring streams of revenue has been the mantra that I’ve been hearing from VARs, vendors and analysts since SearchITChannel.com launched in October. While I don’t know the intricacies of the French political system if their system is anything like the one we have in the States, this is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I’m speculating, but it seems like the installation, transitioning and support revenue that is created essentially turns these two companies into government contractors. I say good for them.
French resellers aren’t the only people interested in channel business. EMC has recently cut two tiers of its partner program in an attempt to raise the number of certified resellers affiliated with the company. In addition from moving from five tiers to three, EMC has “simplified the accreditation process.”
Sounds like now would be the right time to start taking a look at EMCs certified partner requirements.
Technology companies face sweeping changes in IT delivery models Technology companies will need to change the way they operate over the next five years to accommodate a major shift in the delivery of IT services. Instead of buyers integrating technology themselves, it will be assembled and managed by outside providers, according to a new Forrester study. [Tekrati]
Intel prices up updated Core 2 Duos, Quads Steering into the mainstream [TheRegister]
AMD’s well may be running dry The high-flying Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of 2006 has given way to a company in financial peril, saddled with debt and bleeding from a brutal price battle with its larger and suddenly resurgent
Silicon Valley archrival, Intel Corp. [AP]
HP crosses blades with IBM Not so much a Cold War, more a Cooling War. [TheRegister]