Red Hat Looks To Boost Its Channel Sales


With the move, Red Hat will be migrating to a "channel enablement" model that stands to spur partner sales, said Nick Carr, director of product management for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. "We are going to be changing our product mix to allow channel sales," he said. "We are changing our client supply model."

Carr discussed the initiative during Red Hat's appearance before system builders last week at the Intel Solutions Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Red Hat, Raleigh, N.C., is hammering out pricing and packaging for the SMB-focused desktop client, he said. Linux owns more than 5 percent market share for the desktop, far less than its server share. Red Hat distributes its software through a variety of resellers but has steered clear of launching a formal channel program for services partners.

At the Intel event, Red Hat investigated what it must do to enable system builders to sell the Red Hat client, said Gerry Riveros, product marketing manager for desktop client solutions at Red Hat. "They are telling us we need [channel] programs in place, and they need to have benefits to show them how to sell it to their customers," he said. "We've got to do the blocking and tackling."

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Carr told system builders that Red Hat aims to move from 57 percent direct sales in 2005 to as much as 70 percent of sales from the channel, with 30 percent direct. "We are turning the whole model over on its head," he said. "This is how we are going to grow. This is a major commitment."

Andrew Betterton, president and CEO of Open Storage Solutions, a system builder in Brampton, Ontario, said he's interested in a potential Red Hat partnership. "I'd like to learn more about their program and the options they have to support me," he said. Currently, about half of Open Storage Solutions' systems are Unix-based, he added.

PAULA ROONEY contributed to this story.