New Red Hat Channel Exec Focuses On Partner Adoption Of Expanded Product Line


Red Hat is best known as a leading supplier of Linux operating system software. But, as the Red Hat's product line has grown to include middleware, cloud technology, virtualization software and storage management software, so has the need to introduce those products to the company's thousands of channel partners.

And, that's what Jerry Lumpkin, Red Hat's new senior director of channel sales and alliances, is currently focused on.

"This is much more than a point-product play," said Lumpkin in a phone interview. "There's a tremendous growth story in the expansion of the product line. It's a much different message from the Red Hat perspective of a few years ago. That's really the challenge and the opportunity."

[Related: Red Hat Offers Hybrid Cloud Packages, Draws Competitive Comparisons With VMware]

Lumpkin, who joined Red Hat in mid-June, is something of an industry institution, having served in a number of channel and sales posts over the last 25 years. His resume includes a four-year stint as vice president of channel sales at Toshiba America Information Services (2005-2009), a year-and-a-half as senior vice president of worldwide marketing at FrontRange Solutions (2002-2003) and three years as senior vice president of marketing at Ingram Micro (1999-2002).

In his new post, Lumpkin reports to Roger Egan, Red Hat vice president of channel sales in North America.

Today, about 60 percent of Red Hat's sales are through the channel. A significant chunk of that revenue comes from the vendor's flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) software.

But, some of Red Hat's fastest growing products include the company's JBoss middleware software, which Red Hat gained when it acquired JBoss in 2006, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, which is based on the open-source KVM hypervisor, and Red Hat Storage Server, gained from the company's $136 million acquisition of Gluster in October 2011.

Lumpkin said those products provide RHEL resellers with an opportunity to sell a complete stack of open-source software. The challenge for the company -- and for Lumpkin -- is getting that message out to Red Hat's channel partner ranks and putting in place the right programs to make it happen. Ensuring that the storage management software is properly integrated and packaged for channel distribution is also on the to-do list.

To that end, Lumpkin is devoting a lot of time meeting with partners "and doing a lot of listening," he said, to understand what partners like about Red Hat's channel programs and where they need improvement. "We're at a point where things are coming together," he said, hinting at announcements to come but declining to provide details.

PUBLISHED AUG. 27, 2012