Sun Microsystems this week is expected to detail a number of storage initiatives, including a new Elite status for some of its solution providers.
In doing so, Sun becomes the third major storage vendor in as many weeks to introduce an Elite status to its channel programs, following last month's introduction of Compaq Computer's enterprise storage solution specialists, or ESSS. The Compaq program gives partners the chance to earn a rebate of 5 percent on Compaq storage products. Likewise, a new Elite program from Veritas offers solution providers the chance to earn a rebate of up to 3 percent of sales.
Sun's new Elite program will offer rebates on products suct as the StorEdge.
The Sun Storage Elite program, which was privately unveiled to solution providers at a distributor gathering last October but is now being prepped for formal launch, will give a new rebate of 3 percent on Sun storage sales on a monthly basis, provided that at least 25 percent of the certified solution provider's Sun revenue comes from storage that month, according to channel sources.
"Financially, it can reward us for driving more Sun business. It incents me to sell more Sun-branded [Hitachi Data Systems-made arrays than Hitachi-branded arrays," said one solution provider, who requested anonymity.
However, the partner said, such a program has a potential problem. "If my storage sales are only 24 percent of my Sun revenue, they don't pay," the solution provider said. "So what if I'm all set for the month, then I get a $1 million workstation deal with no storage component? What do I do?"
Solution providers are making significant investments in training for the Sun Storage Elite program, and many expect to be certified this week, another partner said.