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Innovation

Why open source needs the SYNNEX channel

If SYNNEX is going to bring you in on engagements where the other choice was IBM, your efforts will be compared directly to theirs and you had better measure up.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

The most important point I tried to make in yesterday's controversial post was that, for retailers, there is something beyond free, a price lower than zero.

That price is sales support. It comes in many forms. Collateral materials, promotions, co-op ad dollars, customer support.

Since they have no guaranteed money coming in, even after the product is moved, open source vendors can't make big promises along these lines, and thus sell direct, not through channels.

All of which makes Red Hat's Open Source Channel Alliance a much bigger story than you imagine.

This is not aimed at retail, in the sense of a Fry's or a Best Buy. It's aimed at what used to be called the VAR market, the Value Added Reseller, being a joint-venture between Red Hat and SYNNEX, a business distributor which calls itself a "business process services" company.

The best news may be that this deal is as important for SYNNEX as for Red Hat, given that the former was dropped by IBM last year, for reasons that make SYNNEX sound like a pretty good outfit.

Unlike earlier efforts, which aimed to organize small VARs and encourage them toward open source, this new group is top-down. It's SYNNEX putting together an ecosystem of tool vendors that can replace IBM in its line-up.

This makes the deal important for Red Hat, too. It expands its footprint among the mid-market enterprises it has long targeted. But there are risks. The non-performance of OSCA members will rub off on Red Hat just as their positive performances will.

This means bigger deals are the target, and SYNNEX will have a heart-attack serious emphasis on vendor performance, not just in vague "support" efforts but in getting customers' kit working and paying for itself.

This will, in turn, cause all the members of the alliance, like Jaspersoft, Zenoss and Alfresco, to raise their games. If SYNNEX is going to bring you in on engagements where the other choice was IBM, your efforts will be compared directly to theirs and you had better measure up.

So in some ways this is like getting a call-up to "the show," and those who don't perform go down to the minors. Perhaps to stay. The manager as well as the players.

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