Server Vendor Stratus Solidifies Its Channel Program


Stratus Technology, a developer of fault tolerant servers, this week unveiled a new channel program the company said addresses a glaring hole in the way it deals with its growing channel community.

The new program comes six months after Maynard, Mass.-based Stratus hired Eric Dougherty, vice president of channel sales, as its first channel exec.

Stratus' fault tolerant servers are aimed at ensuring customers' applications remain available at all times by tying two servers in such a way that one of them can flawlessly handle the workload if the other fails.

The company's technology provides better than five nines, or 99.999-percent, availability, which Dougherty said is important as customers' server environments become more virtualized.

"Customer server utilization is moving from 20 percent to 80 percent and more," he said. "This requires a new level of uptime."

Next: Making Up For Weak Programs Of The Past

The program was a long-time coming, Dougherty said. "In the past, Stratus did not have a great business proposition for partners," he said. "We didn't even have deal registration."

The new Stratus4Uptime program includes Stratus' first deal registration program, which provides an additional 17 percent to 27 percent margin on products in deals which partners register in advance.

Also included in the program is the ability for solution providers to get annuities from selling upgrades, Dougherty said. "The customer will be sticky with the partner," he said. "So we want to make sure partners get compensated."

Stratus is also offering business planning sessions to partners just getting started to show them how to get started with Stratus sales, how to spend market development funds, and how to do demand generation activities.

The company is also now providing on-line training sessions to get them up-to-date on Stratus technology without the need to take billable employees out of the field.

Next: New Discount Structure

Stratus has also revamped its discount structure to bring hardware and software sales in line with each other and to push partners to register their deals.

Dougherty said that solution providers in the past got margins of 12 percent to 16 percent on hardware sales, and 20 percent to 25 percent for software sales. Going forward, partners will get a flat 8 percent on all sales, plus the 17 percent to 27 percent for deal registration, in addition to 10 percent to 30 percent margins on services.

"We've tried to provide protection for our partners through deal registration while making it lucrative to register those deals," he said.

Stratus is also offering business planning sessions to new partners to show them how to get started with Stratus sales, how to spend market development funds, and how to do demand generation activities.

The company is also now providing on-line training sessions to get them up-to-date on Stratus technology without the need to take billable employees out of the field.

Next: VAR Calls Stratus "Channel-Friendly"

One solution provider recruited in just the last six months is Information Technology Professionals, a Milwaukee, Wis.-based solution provider focusing on networking infrastructures.

Joe Ulm, president of Information Technology Professionals, said that his company only started with Stratus six months ago, and so could not comment on how the vendor's channel program has evolved.

However, Ulm said, Stratus has proved to be an exceptionally channel-friendly vendor, an important consideration for a solution provider which is putting its name on the line when bringing a vendor in.

"We've been able to tailor our approach with Stratus," he said. "Everything they do has been with class. They flew someone out to help with our training, and invested in helping us make our initial sales. You don't often see that kind of investment up front."