Open source solutions provider Red Hat has launched a web portal to help its resellers find solutions from third-party ISVs more easily.
The Red Hat Market Place launched in January along with the release of the company's latest bundle of server and desktop virtualisation management tools, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation (RHEV) 3.0.
"One of the reasons we've successfully managed to establish ourselves globally is because of our massive ISV ecosystem and because of the way RHEV is architected, leveraging the [Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor], if something is certified on Red Hate Enterprise for Linux, it’s on RHEV," says Red Hat's New Zealand general manager, Craig Nielsen. "The market place is just an easy way to access those providers to to help with disaster recovery, migrations, and a lot of other things."
The portal offers scores of products under about 40 headings from Acceleration to Workflow Automation, with some promotional incentives, including a trial backup and DR product from Acronis. (The Acronis Backup & Recovery Virtual Edition 11 trial includes three production workload migrations RHEV 3).
Nielsen says that locally, Red Hat initiatives are not designed to expand its reseller base, but to bring more work to its existing partners. The organisation distributes through Ingram Micro and works with tier-1 integrators such as Gen-I Datacom, and Solnet, as well as IBM, HP, Cisco and, Dell. It also has around 40 Red Hat Ready resellers on board in New Zealand.
"I think it’s way more improtant for us to help our partners to get better share of wallet and generate more services revenue and take new solutions into our customer base, than to get more partners," Nielsen says.
This includes teaming up resellers and ISVs together to match skillsets for working together on some projects.
"That's paritcularly true across different elements of the stack and we have many examples of where a middleware partner has worked with a platform partner. And they are very diff skillsety to deliver succesful solutions," he says. "That is quite common and we’re going to see increasingly more examples of that as we get into the storage market."
(Red Hat in October acquired open source storage technology provider Gluster, re-branded Red Hat Storage, to enhance the company's capability in that segment).
What's in it for resellers?
Nielsen says their partners can expand business in New Zealand among customers starting to virtualise exsisting systems. The vendor claims that its products can compete on price, which Nielsen says makes it easier for partenrs to add-on other services at competitive rates.
This will become apparent among New Zealand organisations shifting from legacy, end-of-life Linux machines to virtualisation on commodity hardware.
"What has been virtualised until today has mostly been Windows," Nielsen says. "If you look at all the Linux mission critical use-cases, some of that has been virtualised, but a large portion hasn't."
Nielsen believes that some larger, compartimentalised organisations will have to opt for a "multiple hypervisor strategy", with Windows systems, for example, migrating to Hyper-v, and Linux systems to RHEV, with resellers helping their customers "assemble those stacks".
Nielsen says Red Hat is focused on helping resellers' shift from license sales model to subscription model.
"The channel needs to partner with organisations that want to grow anuity-based business," he says. "What I mean by that is partners participate in the initial subscription sale, but Red Hat partners also particiapte in renewals."
Some vendors, Nielsen says, without naming any, exclude their resellers from renewals. Subsciption-based services with partner annuities helps to keep resellers on their toes as they have an incentive to ensure renewals.
Every year we go to the customer for the renewal and they can decide whether to renew or not. We have good renewal rates which means our customers are happy with the value we are providing," he says. "Our reseller partners have a stak in making sure they’re doing a good job and not just cylcing back into the account only at renewal time."
Red Hat supports reseller partners with technology "boot camps", which the organisation will offer in Wellington and Auckland in March and April. The company in the last quarter of 2011 issued 50 sales certifications in New Zealand, and it plans to certify another 50 in the first quarter of 2012. The company is also offering "technology deep dive" sessions with partners on topics including virtualisation and storage.
The Red Market Place can be found at marketplace.redhat.com/rhev/