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Stratus Technologies launched a new global partner program designed to give channel partners greater flexibility and tools to meet the requirements of their business models.

The program offers incentives, a range of certification and accreditation options, and margin opportunities to sell Stratus’ products for “always-on” availability across a variety of industry sectors, the company said.

A key driver behind the revamped its partner program is Stratus executives’ view that the channel will be pivotal to the company’s growth. “We increasingly see the channel as an incredible instrument to propel our growth. Therefore, it made a lot of sense for us to look at our partner program,” said Susan Bailey, vice president of sales and services for the Americas at Stratus.

Currently, about 85 to 90 percent of Stratus’ revenues go through the channel in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan. In Europe, it’s about 70 percent channel versus 30 percent direct, which primarily supports proprietary legacy hardware. By the end of the year, channel revenue, excluding legacy business, in the United States will be in the 65 to 70 percent range.

“Our growth strategy is exclusively a channel strategy,” said Bailey. “It doesn’t mean we are ignoring our legacy enterprise customers [which is direct business]—we take good care of them—but the growth opportunity is unequivocally in reaching new markets and serving markets that have enormous availability requirements through partners.”

Stratus’ portfolio includes hardware and software products, and the company is making significant investments in cloud solutions. The first cloud products will be launched in the late summer or early fall, followed by a second set in December.

Stratus’ cloud offerings, based on the KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) platform, will be aimed at private clouds. “Many of our partners are playing there because their customers are very interested in the development of private clouds, not so much for productivity applications but for mission-critical applications.”

Stratus’ availability offerings can run in physical, virtualized and cloud environments using a variety of operating systems, and can be installed directly into a customer’s existing infrastructure. The products prevent downtime before it happens to ensure uninterrupted performance, particularly for demanding and mission-critical applications that cannot fail or tolerate any downtime.

The new partner program addresses all of Stratus’ hardware and software offerings. The company will later bolster the channel program to include partners who will be selling and servicing cloud solutions.

Each of three partnership levels—Registered Partner, Silver Partner and Gold Partner—have access to detailed product information and partner news updates, product discounts, Stratus’ upgraded Education & Certification portal, and partner resource center. All partners have accreditation and certification requirements based on their partnership level.

Silver and Gold partners achieve their levels based on their investment levels. Silver status also includes incremental discounts and a demo program, while Gold status builds on the Silver tier with personalized support from a Stratus channel manager, lead referrals and invitations to exclusive Gold Partner events.

The program also includes service partnership levels, where partners can be a service reseller that resells Stratus’ service offerings or a service provider that sells its own service offerings.

In addition to moving to a program that is consistent around the globe, the big differences between the old and new partner programs are the learning management systems, sales enablement and marketing programs, said Bailey.

Stratus has developed high-quality classroom and online training materials that are interactive and updated every four to six months. Depending on their partner level, partners also have access to market development funds, integrated marketing campaigns and net new business registration, which will be available later this year.

Stratus currently has 300-plus partners globally, with about 140 partners in the Americas.

Gina Roos, a Channel Insider contributor, focuses on technology and the channel.