Bell Micro In Linux Land

The San Jose, Calif.-based distributor plans to develop and offer Linux solutions built around its storage practice, according to Gary Gammon, senior vice president of marketing for Bell Micro's Enterprise division.

"Our core strategy still isand will continue to beto help customers build storage businesses," Gammon said.

The Red Hat partnership complements the deal that Bell Micro signed last year with Novell SUSE to put Linux on Hewlett-Packard blade servers, he 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," Gammon 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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Bell Micro has wanted Red Hat for some time, Gammon 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," Gammon said.

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

"Both products 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," he said.

Bell Micro is the first distributor to take a big-picture look into Linux solutions, said Jon Sugimoto, vice president of sales at IntraServe Systems, a solution provider in San Jose, Calif.

"Other distributors are distributing the product, but Bell Micro is actually putting together a team to help everybody's cause," Sugimoto said. "When it comes to Linux, Bell Micro is still new to the game. They're still learning how it fits together in the business world. [But] I see them leading on the distribution end."

Specifically, Bell Micro's ability to integrate Linux before shipment is enticing to IntraServe, Sugimoto said.

"That allows companies like ourselves to focus more on customer needs and not throw resources in integration. We've already seen the hardware market commoditized. If we don't have to start shaving more points away to do integration, it can lower costs," he said.