Sun has shown it is determined to overcome recent unrest in its channel by announcing a reseller recruitment drive to support its Linux push into the SME arena, following the launch of its first Linux server.
The vendor has had to counter allegations from some channel players that its channel model was "not working". It has also clamped down on resellers selling 'unauthorised' imports.
However, Steve Raby, director of partner sales at Sun, said this problem had "mostly gone away now".
Sun said it is looking for both Linux resellers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to carry the new LX50 server running on its own Sun Linux 5.0 software to help it increase its reach in the SME market.
Raby said Sun already has a programme that offers resellers an incentive to bring ISVs into deals. "It seemed only natural to bring this scheme further into the Linux arena," he said.
Raby added that Sun will offer full support for the software.
Although no formal Linux programme for VARs will be in place until late this year, Raby said there are currently no restrictions on the number of resellers being signed up.
However, he added that the vendor will differentiate between those resellers capable of selling the entire Linux line and those which sell only the volume range.
Raby said broadline distributor Computer 2000 (C2000), which already sells the Sun Colbalt range, would expand to cover the new Linux line despite the fact that Sun already has two channel development partners, Clarity and tplc.
Simon Welch, marketing manager at Clarity, said C2000 would be targeting a different market to his company. "This is a volume push to give incremental sales to the Sun business.
"Lots of end-users are interested in Linux and it would be silly not to give them what they want," he said.
However, a report from analyst IDC has shown that although VARs see Linux as a growth area, partnering to become a Linux provider is a not a priority for resellers.
"Resellers are unsure of the profitability that a Linux-specific partnership would bring," said Kevin Restivo, manager for IDC's Software Strategic Alliances programme.
"Vendors that are looking to push Linux into the channel need to ensure that they target those partners that can provide the necessary value-added activities," he added.
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