Systems Channel News Roundup, Jan. 5-9

This week's headlines: The Windows 7 beta is finally here, and Dell promotes its channel chief.

Systems channel news roundup for Jan. 5-9, 2009.

Windows 7 beta released

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer kicked off this year's Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday by announcing the beta of Windows 7, Microsoft's next desktop operating system. The public download became available today, and early reviews have been positive.

Microsoft executives hope Windows 7 will help the company move on from the failures of Windows Vista, but the transition may be a bumpy one. Microsoft wants Windows XP customers to upgrade to Vista before moving on to Windows 7, but Microsoft partners say some of their business customers still don't want anything to do with Vista.

Microsoft has also announced the release of the Windows Server 2008 R2 beta. The release is a big one for the virtualization market, because Hyper-V in R2 now includes live migration -- a key feature that, if it performs well, could help Microsoft close the gap with VMware. Other highlights include the PowerShell 2.0 development kit and Remote Desktop Services (formerly Terminal Services), which features virtual desktop infrastructure.

Dell promotes Greg Davis

Dell has promoted North American channel chief Greg Davis, according to Channel Insider. Davis will now oversee Dell's global channel operations. The move follows the major reorganization Dell announced on New Year's Eve, which saw the company get rid of its geography-based structure to focus instead on specific customer segments.

Novell CMO to run channel

Novell's channel is going through another shake-up. Channel chief Javier Colado is moving up to become president of Novell's Europe, Middle East and Africa operations. Chief marketing officer John Dragoon will now head up the partner program. Colado just became general manager of partners back in September, when he took over for Pat Bernard.

EMC becomes VMware Authorized Consultant

EMC this week announced that it has become a VMware Authorized Consultant (VAC). EMC said the designation gives its global services division new opportunities to bring virtualization to its customers, especially in the areas of business continuity, infrastructure implementation and management. Channel partners that also have VAC status will be able to add further value to these customers, EMC said.

Tech Data signs DataCore

Tech Data is getting into the storage virtualization market. The distributor this week signed a deal with DataCore Software, which makes applications that can manage and provision storage devices connected to a SAN. Under the deal, Tech Data will sell DataCore's SANmelody for storage consolidation and SANsymphony for open storage networking.

VMware hires Nielsen as COO

VMware has a new chief operating officer: Tod Nielsen. Nielsen was most recently the CEO for Borland Software, and he also has served at Microsoft, BEA and Oracle. Channel Marker blogger Barbara Darrow notes that Nielsen, like new VMware CEO Paul Maritz, has extensive experience at Microsoft, which could help as VMware faces new challenges from Microsoft's Hyper-V.

Sun acquires Q-layer

Sun Microsystems boosted its cloud computing strategy this week by acquiring Q-layer, a Belgian company that automates cloud deployment and management. Sun said Q-layer will become part of its cloud computing business unit, which helps businesses build their own clouds and take advantage of existing ones. The companies did not disclose terms of the deal.

Check out last week's systems channel news roundup.

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