As most Linux channel partners already know, there are many flavors of Linux to choose from (and, therefore, many Linux partners to consider). But most large customers that decide to move to Linux will choose either Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise.
Deciding which of these two big Linux vendors to align with as a channel partner will involve a number of considerations. From a bird's-eye view, the two companies are similar: Both are well-established and have large customer bases, as well as strong support systems for enterprise customers. In addition, both Red Hat and Novell have developed healthy Linux partnerships with large vendors such as Oracle and IBM. And both companies have huge stakes in the market: Novell has bet its future on SUSE Linux; Red Hat has been a Linux developer since its inception. And both distributions continue to grow.
But if you look closer, you'll see there are some key differences between the two companies. Red Hat's leadership in the Linux market positions it as an attractive partner. Novell, on the other hand, has a great partner program, which compensates somewhat for its lack of market share.
The tips in the table of contents below outline a breakdown of the two companies' Linux partner programs, and offer advice about which direction you should head in.
How Red Hat and SUSE Linux partner programs compare