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Oracle plans to attack the cloud computing opportunity with a slew of new channel offerings for its 25,000 partners, including programs that will designate specialized Oracle partners as cloud builders and others that will pay partners referral fees and extra incentives for their cloud integration expertise.
It's the latest in a series of cloud-centric moves from the software giant, for which a software-and-services strategy is seen as increasingly important as its hardware business continues to erode. The launch is actually five distinct channel offerings that Judson Althoff, Oracle senior vice president, worldwide alliances and channels, is scheduled to unveil to partners during an Oracle Partner Network (OPN) keynote on Sunday -- the channel kickoff to Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco.
In an exclusive interview with CRN leading up to the conference, Althoff said the new programs fall right in line with both the partner specialization and hardware-software "engineered systems" strategies toward which Oracle has been pushing partners for some time now. Topping that list is a specific designation for Oracle Cloud Builders, a branded certification intended for those Oracle partners that can develop comprehensive private cloud infrastructure expertise.
"It's a certification that cuts across the ability to build private clouds based on Oracle technology, all the way from servers and storage through middleware as well as systems, all engineered to work together as a true platform," Althoff told CRN. "What it means is that these partners are not only labeled as such, but they'll be our preferred go-to-market [partners] in this space."
Oracle needs a way to quickly identify, and reward, those partners most qualified to sell Oracle private cloud stacks.
"Many of our customers in their RFPs request to get listings of all the partners in a given area," Althoff said. "So now when a customer says, 'We're looking to build a private cloud' and is based in Omaha, and 'What do you have to build that skill set,' the ones that have the specialization will rise to the top."
There's no restriction on which partners can apply for that specialization, and they'll be assessed on things like sales, business qualifications and customer reference-ability, Althoff said. Applications for the Cloud Builder specialization should go live about 30 days following the announcement.
Promoting partners that can go full-stack with Oracle is a major priority, Althoff said. It's also a way to rationalize both Oracle's organic R&D investment as well as the products and platforms it's acquired by buying companies like Endeca, Taleo, RightNow and Sun Microsystems by asking partners to expand their portfolios with a full complement of hardware and software.
"We've been working since the acquisition of Sun to cross-pollinate our hardware and software partners," Althoff said.