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Red Hat reaffirms channel committment

On the eve of Red Hat’s announcement of release 5 of its enterprise Linux operating system, the company is reaffirming its commitment to the channel.

That commitment is relatively new. The company’s vice president of North American channel sales, Mark Enzweiler, told SearchITChannel.com last month that although Red Hat has had partners in the past, it has never had a formal, unified channel strategy — a gap Enzweiler said he was brought on board specifically to address in October.

Red Hat launched a new Certified Service Provider (CSP) program last month to a select few of its partners which the company says will help them achieve a faster turnaround, and thus higher profits, for certain core services .

Sometime later this month, Red Hat will be introducing a program to help partners communicate with one another, said Brett Hunter, Red Hat’s director or partner marketing .

It is also upgrading its partner portal Web site soon, including a new subscription center that will track partners’ customers and remind those partners when a client’s subscription needs renewing. That will not only make it easier for partners to get cuts on renewal fees, but will give them a good excuse to talk to customers and potentially up-sell to them, Hunter said.

Red Hat also hired executives to develop its partner program abroad, bringing in Petra Heinrich to lead its European channel in January and Masatsugu Koketsu to build up the channel in Japan earlier this month.

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