Sun Partner Advantage Program Adds Software Specialties

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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Sun Microsystems adds software specialty certifications to its Sun Partner Advantage Program, offering increased revenue opportunities to IT consultants and IT solution providers that invest in selling Sun software.

Looking to put more weight behind its software product sales, Sun Microsystems has announced a series of software specialty certifications available to members of its Sun Partner Advantage Program. Sun also announced an Open Access Channel Program, providing access to this software to companies that aren't Sun partners.

"Software specialties are designed to provide increased revenue opportunities to partners that invest in our software," says Bill Cate, Sun's global channel chief. The program will include six specialties—identity management, SOA (service-oriented architecture), MySQL Web, XVM (Sun's virtualization technology), Sun's virtual desktop technology and Sun's open storage technology, according to Cate.

Identity management and SOA are available today, Nov. 3. The others will be rolled out over the next two quarters. A recent Gartner report noted a steep decline in companies planning SOA projects.

Partners who achieve one of these specialties can "lead an end-to-end sales process around these technologies," Cate says. "It also allows partners to enter the deal as an integration partner" rather than a reseller, providing them with another entry point.

Partner investment required to achieve certification in these specialties depends on the specialty, according to Sun. Specialties typically require sales skills and deep technical skills, and in most specialties there is also architecture-related and deployment expertise required. Educational sessions are free of charge, but require the time of employees to complete.

"These are for partners who want to build a practice around these technologies," Cate says. "We have 92 partners that have jumped in. The investment for the specialties is not trivial, but it helps partners focus on delivering higher value."

Once certification is achieved, Sun will also shadow partners and mentor them on the first few opportunities, says Cate.

Sun also announced a new Open Access program that allows distributors to sell Sun software to their own reseller bases without those resellers having to become Sun partners.

The channel announcement comes days after Sun released a bleak quarterly report—a quarterly net loss of $1.7 billion and a 7 percent drop in revenue from the same quarter a year ago.

Sun's sales of RISC-based servers that run Solaris—Sun's Unix implementation—have suffered as more companies have opted for x86-based servers. The company has pushed its open-source model for software in an effort to get more customers on board with the company's solutions. In its earnings announcement Oct. 30, Sun also said it planned to cut staff.
Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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