Oracle: Hardware-Software Appliances Create Expansion Opportunities For Partners

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Oracle is stepping up its pitch to solution providers about the benefits of the company's "engineered systems" hardware-software appliances. And, who better to make that pitch than a former hardware vendor channel executive?

Tom LaRocca, who joined Oracle earlier this year after a 12-year career at rival Hewlett-Packard, addressed solution providers at UBM Channel's XChange 2012 conference Monday, making the argument that Oracle's engineered system products offer an opportunity for resellers to expand their business.

"If you're hardware-centric, this may be a way to grow your business," said LaRocca, who is now Oracle vice president of go-to-market solutions and programs. "This may be the next evolution you're looking for."

[Related: CRN's Exclusive Coverage Of XChange 2012]

LaRocca, who was one of the key architects of HP's PartnerONE program, moved to Oracle in January.

Oracle has been combining its database, middleware and other software products with its Sun hardware to create the engineered systems, including the Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle Database Appliance and Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud server. LaRocca said that by controlling the technology "stack," the Oracle initiative helps it maintain control of the customer experience.

"This is really where our value-add comes in. The software is engineered to work better on our hardware," LaRocca said. "This is where the market is going. This is where customers want us to go."

And, he noted that Oracle isn't the only software vendor that's moving to sell more complete hardware-software products. "Two years ago, who would have thought that Microsoft would be introducing [its] own hardware," he said, referring to Microsoft's recently debuted Surface tablet product.

Oracle wasn't always known for being a particularly channel friendly vendor until more recent years, a point LaRocca acknowledged.

"It's a different channel at Oracle than it was three or four years ago," he said, noting that Oracle now has 25,000 partners worldwide who account for 40 percent of the vendor's worldwide sales. "We've changed a lot. We're going to continue to listen to our partners [about] what they need from us to grow."

"I'm looking for growth for Oracle out of the channel," he said.

To that end, Oracle will be offering an expanded range of informational and training content at the Oracle Partner Network Exchange sessions at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco in six weeks.

As in previous years, a number of partner-related activities will take place on Sunday, Sept. 30, including a keynote speech by Judson Alhoff, senior vice president of worldwide alliances and channels and embedded sales. But, while partner-specific events have largely been limited to the day before the official start of Oracle OpenWorld, this year will include 40 tracks of partner-related content across all Oracle technologies that will run throughout the conference.


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