Linux Vendors Prime Programs, Solutions For Channel

In a special channel event Wednesday at the San Francisco conference, Hewlett-Packard, Levanta, GroundWork, Storix and Collax were among the companies highlighting new partner programs and products.

HP unveiled a new series of open-source middleware stacks (OSMS) and said it was making the preconfigured stacks available through its HP Elite channel program for the first time. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based IT giant introduced its first OSMS set in April. Under the program, HP will provide training, and partners can resell the solutions and offer add-on services, the company said.

HP also announced new tested and documented blueprints for open-source directory services, which are expected to be available this fall, and a database server, due out this month.

Munich, Germany-based Collax, meanwhile, inaugurated the U.S. launch of its Collax Business Server for small and midsize businesses and, as part of the product launch, invited U.S. solution providers to join the Collax Charter Partner Program.

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Collax's SMB server, intended to compete against Microsoft's Small Business Server, includes a suite of open-source applications for security, networking and communications. It offers an easy-to-use graphical user interface and is designed for customers with little or no Linux knowledge, the company said.

Also on the channel front, Levanta officially launched its U.S. Partner Plus channel program to drive sales of its Intrepid M Linux management appliance through VARs. Intrepid M provides a central management console for managing servers, workstations and virtual machines running Linux.

Levanta has partnerships with IBM, HP, Novell and Red Hat and so far has lined up four U.S. solution providers: Adeara, Genstor, KIS Systems and Network Design and Management. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company has launched channel programs overseas but has had a difficult time finding U.S. partners, according to CEO Matt Mosman.

"Our biggest challenge has been finding you," Mosman told a group of VARs who at the LinuxWorld channel event. "It's hard to find good, Linux-focused channel partners.

GroundWork, for its part, launched a new channel program to entice a select group of specialized partners to its Linux management software. Under the program, partners can earn margins on annual subscriptions, company executives said. It costs $16,000 to join, but that fee can be paid to GroundWork consultants who assist partners in the initial joint-service engagements.

Tony Barbagallo, GroundWork's vice president of product management and marketing, said the San Francisco-based company will give partners financial help and training. "We'll kick-start partners and provide field marketing funds, and we're flipping them initial deals," he said. "We'll provide training via [our] partner resource center online.'

Storix, too, is reaching out to VARs. The San Diego-based ISV, which makes backup and disaster-recovery software for Linux and AIX, launched its first comprehensive channel program at LinuxWorld. The company said it aims to limit the number of partners in each geographic territory and focus exclusively on backup and system-recovery applications.

Storix's System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin) product allows users to recover a system in a single step. The vendor partners with HP, IBM and Novell.