Sun Microsystems is looking for 800 UK small to medium sized enterprise (SME) resellers to join its iForce Volume Product Partner Programme and sell its low-maintenance server appliances.
The company claimed that the move will enable partners to enter into its higher-end product ranges.
"Sun has never really addressed the SME market and has concentrated on the corporate arena but, with the acquisition of appliance vendor Cobalt in December last year, we have had to look hard at how to sell to this market," said Mark Littlewood, product sales manager for the Sun Cobalt range.
Resellers will sell the low-end Sun Cobalt Qube, RaQ and CachRaQ at first, possibly moving into the company's higher-end products. Sun claimed it will feed other products into the channel as the initiative develops.
"We plan to create a buzz for our solutions in the SME market," Littlewood claimed. "All leads we receive will go into our Response Centre, where they will be allocated to registered resellers depending on geographical factors."
Simon Welch, marketing manager at Sun distributor Clarity, said that it has already started the recruitment drive. "We have had a huge amount of interest from resellers, which is not surprising. Resellers are looking for opportunities, and this provides an entry point for them to get into the Sun range," he said.
Partners will receive online training and point-of-sale materials, and will be supported by tier-two distributors.
Gordon Shortreed, director of Sun business at master reseller TPLC, believes the company is making the right moves to expand its SME sales.
"If you look at the product range Sun is up against - people like IBM and Compaq - the company has recognised it is a push-pull market in which you have to build a brand to succeed," he explained.
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