Sun Restructures Solaris VAR, Support Programs

Unix operating system

Sun on Tuesday said it will allow VARs for the first time to preload Solaris 10 on x86 systems, and the Santa Clara, Calif., company will increase reseller margins two to three times what was offered in the past.

The Solaris Ready Program for Resellers will drive more revenue opportunities for partners because they can now preinstall and configure Solaris on their own systems plus benefit from better margins, Sun executives said. The goal: Make the Solaris program more channel-friendly and offer solution providers better collateral and demand generation support.

"We're allowing resellers to preinstall and configure Solaris 10 with their systems. Previously, the customer would download a free copy, and the reseller would go in and sell them a support contract," said Tom Goguen, vice president of Sun systems software. "It was not an appropriate way to approach the channel."

Besides the reseller program changes, Sun this week launched an expanded, five-level support subscription program that includes a $49-per-incident option for developers all the way up to a customized, site-wide Solaris Everywhere support program. All of the programs are offered for x32/x64 systems and Sun's UltraSparc Unix systems.

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Sun will continue its basic, standard and premium support programs with enhanced value. The $240 basic support plan now comes with 30 days of free phone support and additional customer training. Sun's 24x7 premium support offering, for instance, offers new interoperability support to ensure that Solaris runs well on third-party ISVs and systems.

The changes are part of the Sun Partner Advantage program, which the company launched last October and will officially put into effect July 1. The successor to the 20-year-old iForce program, the Sun Partner Advantage program will require partners to earn certification in at least one of four categories: systems, storage, software or services.

The Solaris Ready Program for Resellers is a significant change, designed to spur new software sales for Sun independent of its hardware business. Sun also plans to make changes in its reseller programs for systems, storage and services to drive new business this year.

Jesse Chavez, vice president of global partner sales at Sun, said the company has held a couple of national advisory councils and an executive partner advisory council in recent weeks to inform partners about the changes.

"We're adding value to and bettering the business proposition for resellers because it now allows them to redsitribute the software, and we're backing it up with training for those resellers," Chavez said.

Also on Tuesday, Sun unveiled an interim update of Solaris 10, version 11/06. The update natively integrates the Trusted Extensions and Secure By Default Networking security features. Trusted Extensions, previously part of a separate, high-security version of Solaris, supports three of the highest levels of Common Criteria Certification EAL-4+.

The update also provides improved performance of Web-based applications and services, support for Logical Domains and enhancements to the Solaris' Container virtualization technology, including the ability to more easily migrate and rename containers from system to system.