Bell Micro Inks Red Hat Distribution Deal

Based on customer demand, the San Jose, Calif., distributor plans to develop and offer Linux solutions built around storage solutions, according to Gary Gammon, senior vice president of marketing for Bell Microproducts' Enterprise division.

"Our core strategy still is and will continue to be help customers build storage businesses. That's a broad category that includes embedding storage into OEM products, VARs helping end users manage storage better, and system builder maximizing components that go into that [storage] market," said Gary Gammon, senior vice president of marketing for Bell Microproducts' Enterprise division.

The Red Hat partnership complements the deal that Bell Microproducts signed last year with Novell SUSE to put Linux on Hewlett-Packard blade servers, Gammon said.

"We see Linux as a strong market opportunity. It's much more prevalent in data centers than in the past and it's been legitimized by vendors such as HP and the applications that are out there," Gammons said. "Blade server technology needs networked storage to make the technology functional. We are helping resellers move into the fastest-growing segment of that market."

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At its recent partner conference, HP estimated about half of its blade servers are sold into Linux environments. Gammons sees about the same rate for Bell Microproducts.

"We've had a lot of success working with HP on their Linux Elite program and getting resellers aware of the additional market opportunity," he said.

Bell Microproducts has wanted Red Hat for some time, Gammons said.

"If you have a large Linux initiative, Red Hat has to be part of it. When you say Linux, you essentially mean Red Hat. We think this will help accelerate sales in that area," he said.

The distributor expects both Novell and Red Hat to play major roles going forward.

"They both have server-based operating products. They're both in the blade space. We are looking to establish more resellers that understand blade architecture and can maximize Linux in an operating environment with HP," Gammons said.

In addition to VARs, Bell Microproducts is targeting systems builders putting Linux on desktop and server products, he said.

"I'm not sure we'll get some additional opportunity with Microsoft delaying Vista. I'm not hearing that from customers directly. Desktop is a secondary strategy for us," Gammons said.