Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

Summary: Linux users loves Ubuntu. Technology businesses, though... not so much. Canonical is working on improving its corporate partnership relationships.

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Most people, who like Linux, love Ubuntu. Oh they may object to Ubuntu's new Unity desktop, but at day's end, they still use Ubuntu. Technology businesses though have a more jaundiced view of Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company. Canonical, though, is now taking steps now to make its potential hardware and software partners happier.

First, Canonical is trying to become better friends with its reseller partners. Their new channel partner program, Ubuntu Advantage (UA) is "designed to help resellers bring a new set of support services for Ubuntu server, desktop and cloud installations direct to businesses. The program is launching with global partners, including CSS in the US, Asia and Europe, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA)."

The name of the game, according to Canonical, is to "provide enterprise customers with access to the tools and support they need to get maximum return from their Ubuntu infrastructure including round the clock support, Ubuntu Landscape management and monitoring tool, knowledge base and legal cover. Ubuntu Advantage helps to minimize any impact on mission-critical services and reduce the cost of system downtime. The Ubuntu Advantage partner program extends the availability of these services beyond Canonical and, for customers, adds local resources and responsiveness to the expertise that Canonical continues to provide."

What resellers will get out of this is the usual additional revenue streams from new services. In addition, Canonical promises that they'll get "marketing, technical, commercial and pre-sales support and an assigned account manager as part of the UA program."

We've been here before. Canonical has offered enterprise software stacks in partnership with IBM; the Ubuntu distributor also briefly tried a retail, open-source software package; and has long been targeting Red Hat and the other server operating system giants for the Linux server market. While Canonical has had some success with that last mission-albeit Red Hat continues to be server Linux's 800-pound gorilla--over the years its partners have been happy with it.

As The VAR Guy Website observed Canonical has lots of good partner ideas but they haven't pulled them off because "Canonical experienced multiple management changes and product launches that pushed - and pulled - the company into new directions."

After years of covering the reseller and enterprise market, I can safely tell you that neither resellers nor business customers like constant change from a company. They want, they need, a constant, steady channel program and product line. As a Linux lover, you probably find constant change and small improvements exciting. Businesses much prefer stability.

In addition, Canonical is simplifying its hardware certification program. In the past manufacturers had a choice of two levels of endorsement for systems: "Ubuntu Certified" and "Ubuntu Ready." Canonical recognized that this was confusing so starting with October's Ubuntu 11.10 release there will only be one Canonical-endorsed hardware certification program: Ubuntu Certified.

Just like resellers and corporate customers, original equipment manufacturers (OEM)s and original design manufacturer (ODM)s much prefer simple and stable over constant small changes and tweaks.

If Canonical is successful in doing all this, and in stabilizing it own management structure, then Canonical, and Ubuntu, will have a much better chance of moving from Linux lovers' desktops to corporate offices and server rooms. That's easier said than done though. We'll see how they do this time around.

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Canonical switches to OpenStack for Ubuntu Linux cloud

Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

Topics: Software, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

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41 comments
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  • OK? Per-seat pricing is?

    So what is this service agreement going to cost me in each of the markets? What if I am a global company? Do I need a contract with each VAR or a master services agreement with Canonical directly?
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

      @facebook@... Talk to them and/or your local partner and find out. All kind of prices for all kinds of services.

      Steven
      sjvn
    • Calling MIke Cox. Your new Account Rep. is looking for you.

      Yeah, only now you'll be dining at McDonalds and perhaps, if you are lucky and commit to going 100% Ubuntu, you'll be taken to the Dairy Queen later for a Blizzard.
      xuniL_z
      • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

        This was exactly what i was searching for. Have been fighting for a while to do this, thanks for have posted.<a href="http://www.kodux.com">kodu</a>
        jenny55
  • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

    Business partners don't take linux seriously. And they are right. There is no momentum behind it, nothing that makes it stand out from the crowd. Ubuntu just isn't a trusted name. Mark Shuttleworth had to quit his job, when I tell people that they tend to back away from it. There is no stable future in linux.

    And the winner for the most links in one article goes to SJVN!
    LoverockDavidson
    • Yeah, how do you think ZDNET is doing keeping SVJN on a leash?

      @LoverockDavidson
      You can tell he's on a leash with zdnet he's not lashing out at MS so much.
      He must have found that playing the Evil Villian of MS was not paying that well.
      And now, imho, his pushing and advertising of Linux is a bit more subtle.
      If they could only get that wild look out of his eyes, I mean hey, I'm not the best looking guy on the planet by any stretch and this is just my opinion, but can it just be me that thinks he always looks like he's halfway down the road of a crystal meth binge. Either that or, imho, he has the look of a guy you'll see on TV with a 12 pack in hand and any second Chris Hansen is going to walk into the room.
      xuniL_z
      • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

        @xuniL_z
        You painted the perfect picture of Loverock. The last sentence, LOL.

        Great comment.
        Hooah!
        daikon
    • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

      @LoverockDavidson <br><br>Loverock, you have confirmed people are interested in Ubuntu. There is a difference between having to and wanting to quit a job. Love, when you have Mark Shuttleworths money you can quit your job. Its looks to be the same old comments, today you only get half a point. <br><br>Great article Steven. <br>Hooah!
      daikon
    • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

      @LoverockDavidson

      Not really... Why does Oracle recommend RedHat if there's no future in Linux? Are you smarter than Larry Ellison?

      Linux is huge in the server market. My enterprise clients all use Linux servers for their applications, save for the 2 that had existing ASP .NET apps. I'm serious about Linux, my company is, and we sell support for RHEL and JBoss (a java application server by RedHat). You can keep poo-pooing linux all you want, but at the end of the day the NYSE (and most other major stock exchanges like the Nasdaq) uses Linux, IBM sells more linux machines than AIX, Facebook is on Linux... It just makes you look dumb. Linux servers serve billions of people per day globally and handle trillions of dollars in securities on a daily basis. I'm sorry that you can't face that fact.

      And you know what else? Shuttleworth is still an executive at Canonical, and still works there, and is still one of the biggest stake holders. He wanted to work on UI design and running the company got in the way of that. What you're saying to people shows your lack of knowledge about what actually happened. Sometimes a developer isn't the right person to be the CEO, the CEO is generally someone with operations experience, and most importantly a huge business rollodex. His replacement has exactly that. Being CEO is a full time job and as Shuttleworth said, he wanted to be more involved with the product.
      snoop0x7b
    • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

      @LoverockDavidson <br>Mark Shuttleworth had to quit his job? As wikipedia would say [citation needed]. Clearly you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. If you don't like Linux just say so, but why you feel the need to make things up I will never understand. Instead just say you don't like Linux. You don't have to like Linux yourself but it has the largest share of the server market world wide. No other product comes close. Linux is the 800lbs gorilla in the server market. Do the research and see for yourself, there are tons of research and marketing information showing this exact thing.<br><br>The other thing is perhaps you can explain why Mark Shuttleworth is still doing work at Canonical when you claim "Mark Shuttleworth had to quit his job"? Perhaps you can explain why he said, "I'll focus my Canonical energy on product design, partnerships and customers." That doesn't sound like quitting or being forced out. As a privately held company exactly who owns enough shares of his company, that he started with the money from the sale of Thawte, to force him out? Sounds like you have no idea what you are talking about.
      tim.w.jung@...
  • For resellers to get involved, money must be involved

    Lots and lots of money. That begs the question, where will it come from.

    Considering the narrow slice of the market that "buys" Linux or derivative products, the reseller market is fairly small. You might claim IBM in that mix as a big player, but they put it on mainframes and already are a reseller, so aren't part of this marketing ploy.

    As always, time will tell, but if history repeats, and it usually does, the reseller base will be very small, the profits meager and Ubuntu will stay a strong Linux player, but stay incredibly small in the overall Operating Systems market.
    Cynical99
    • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

      @Cynical99
      What is an Operating Systems market? Sounds like a very larger market.

      Hooah!
      daikon
      • The OS market is huge

        @daikon
        but Ubuntu is an extremely small player in the overall market. MS makes the lions share of the money, entities like IBM and Oracle sell their versions of Linux, AIX and other Unix derivatives, and Ubunto fits the derivative sector.

        They may be big in the Linux arena, but overall Linux doesn?t have much market share to speak of. Meaning, not a lot of money is available to suck the resellers into the game.

        Resellers need money to survive, Ubuntu, Red Hat and others look big to the person in the basement making $35K a year, but to the large businesses, the don?t even exist. The large companies have the money, the small companies always struggle. Resellers are in business to make money, so the market segment Ubuntu attracts is very small and just doesn?t have the money large businesses have.
        Cynical99
      • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

        @Cynical99
        I think you under estimate what Ubuntu and Canonical can do in this market. This market does include servers and cloud services. Openstack, Dell, HP, Intel and Amazon are a few of the business partners with Canonical. Sound like large businesses to me.
        daikon
      • Well, they may be large, but . . . . . . .

        @daikon
        those using Linux like Google, Amazon, and others don't use Ubuntu, they use their own derivatives. Dell, HP, and a few others may sell a desktop or two and even a few laptops with Ubuntu, but the vast majority of systems sold, including servers either have no OS or Windows.

        As for servers, Linux has traditionally cannibalized the Unix installations, Ubuntu may have a decent presence there, but overall the money is pretty small when you consider all things. Linux in general seems to be losing ground, so Ubuntu's growth, if any is probably at other Linux vendors expense.

        Have fun defending the market share argument as Linux overall is relatively small. Hence, where's the money?

        Why don't you come back with the source of money for all those resellers? Small market share seems to seriously limit that little commodity.
        Cynical99
      • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

        @Cynical99
        I see more assumptions from your comments than hard supporting facts. FYI both Amazon and Openstack do use Ubuntu with there cloud services.

        Hooah!
        daikon
      • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

        @daikon
        Even so, highly specialized, incredibly small market share. Very few resellers would ever consider getting into a market like that and Amazon will suck up any money that might be there. No, Ubuntu will remain an incredibly small player overall.

        Do you get out much? Might want to get out of the basement and look around at what people are really using, and for the most part, it ain't Ubuntu. It's that other OS that has been crushing the world for many years.
        Cynical99
      • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

        @Cynical99
        Again, more assumptions from you than hard facts.

        Hooah!
        daikon
    • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

      @Cynical99 <br>You get basic business and marketing failure. Your statements are provably false. There are more Linux servers in use across the US and across the world than any other server OS. There are more Linux servers being used under support contracts than any other server as well. The narrow slice you say is incorrect. You need to do more research and see that the Microsoft server market share has been dropping as well as the UNIX server market share. Linux has been growing at the expense of Microsoft and UNIX. The costs of the Microsoft servers are just too high and the support contracts for Microsoft servers are even higher. A company also has to worry about the SBA or Microsoft or whoever coming in to do software audits and the company better be able to produce a license and proof of purchase for every single piece of software they own or face large fines and penalties. That reason alone is why more and more companies are moving away from Microsoft. The per seat license compliance for Microsoft in a corporate setting is a nightmare to keep track of and make sure you have enough per seat licenses for each server product and proof of purchase of the proper amount of CALs. Corporations are also finding that they do not need as large an IT staff to support multiple Linux servers like they need for multiple Microsoft servers. Several of the computer VAR, business and network admin magazines have surveyed large numbers of corporations and IT managers releasing these survey results repeatedly showing these numbers. Just look at the Netcraft numbers to start with.

      Surveys of IT managers are also showing that they are able to support more Linux servers than Microsoft servers with fewer people. That is a serious cost savings, especially when you begin to look at larger and larger companies.

      Microsoft Exchange used be the only reason you couldn't switch completely to Linux. Now even that is no longer true. There are several drop in replacements available for Linux. You can buy one of the several commercial packages and get support contracts as well to replace a Microsoft Exchange server. Today there is nothing Microsoft offers in the server department that you can't get somewhere else cheaper and usually more powerful with more options available.

      This is one of the main reasons why Microsoft is reporting lower and lower sales numbers. It is because they can't get people to upgrade, and because they are loosing server market share. Microsoft Office is about the only things doing OK for Microsoft and reportedly is the only division not seeing sales drops and negative numbers for costs over sales.

      If you look at the SMB market this is even more true. I have several clients who are better able to manage their own servers using a Linux web interface, than using the tools provided by Microsoft to manage their servers. I no longer see the business advantage or the business case to made why a company should keep with Microsoft for their server needs when they can get so much more for so much less money and less hassle.
      tim.w.jung@...
  • RE: Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

    I see compatibility and ease of use as issues. Will it work well with other devices? With other software? With technologies such as Active Directory? Users complain enough about UI changes, how will a change this drastic work? Will users be able to use this new system? Will they be able to access their files easily? Will things such as roaming profiles still work?
    CobraA1