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Top channel takeaways from Oracle OpenWorld 2010

SAN FRANCISCO–Oracle’s really packing in the news at Oracle OpenWorld thus far. New Fusion Apps due out early next year. A new Linux distro. A new Exalogic super-duper Web server appliance to come in the next 12 months. A little hissy-fit then make up session with HP. What more could you want?

For Oracle and Sun channel partners, here are the top line items out of the big event.:

 1: Tick tock: Sun VARs face deadline.

They have till October 15 to map their Sun Partner Advantage (SPA) designation into the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN). Of course they’ve known that for quite some time. And many Sun VARs, especially those who’ve seen their Sun hardware renewal business taken direct, have been thinking long and hard about this. Several have moved more of their hardware business to IBM and/or Hewlett-Packard or Dell.

Tom Wagner, the former Sun channel guy who is now group vice president of North American alliances and channel sales for Oracle, said he understands the pushback. “It’s natural for partners to hedge. I have no problem with VARs who have a line card with Oracle and IBM and NetApp.”

2: Hardware-only VARs better gear up.

Especially if they want to play in the  big-boy Exadata or Exalogic business.

“For pure-play hardware VARs, here’s probably not a ton of opportunity here for you,” said Judson Althoff, senior vice president of worldwide channels.

On the other hand, VARs with expertise in  database, RAC, and Linux should do well working with customers to best fine tune those appliances, he said.

Oracle VARs could make hay selling such slick components as solid-state flash storage into existing Sun hardware accounts, Altoff said.  Flash drives are a big piece of he storage picture in the upcoming Exalogic appliance.

3: Exalogic: When is an appliance not an appliance?

There was a lot of talk about the Exalogic appliance, but for an appliance it has a whole lotta variables.

Hardware and software will be priced (and discounted for resellers) separately.  The $1,075,000 price quoted in Larry Ellison’s keynote is hardware-only price for a full-rack Exalogic. The assorted WebLogic Suite software and specialized “Exalogic Elastic Cloud” software are additional. Existing software licenses at the customer shop will also have to be factored in, he said.

4: Oracle pays more for PRM deals

Partners had to be “persuaded” to register their deals in Oracle’s system and so it’s paying them more margin to do so, said Ted Bereswill, senior vice president of north american channels.

The PRM system was notorious among many partners who felt that the surest way to lose a “net new” deal to Oracle was to tell Oracle about it. Starting with the fiscal year on July 1, Oracle started paying partners an additional 3% margin on any new deal they “PRM’d” and then closed.  If that deal was done by a partner with a Fusion or Exadata specialization, there was an additional 2%.

A third of all indirect sales of Oracle technology (databases and middleware) were PRM’d last year and the goal is to get to 50% in FY 2011, Bereswill said.

5: Beware of pretty numbers.

Oracle likes to tout that some 40% of its revenue comes via indirect channels. The problem with that number is it doesn’t really mean channel sales, it covers deals where a channel “influence” can be attributed.

6: New Diamond OPN designation for tippy-top partners

If you’re a huge Oracle partner with lots of employees, there’s a new “Diamond” tier within the OPN ranks. . 

The Diamond level requires the partner to log at least $40 million in Oracle co-sell and resell revenue per year across three or more Oracle regions.  Accenture and InfoSys have already garnered Diamond status, Althoff said.  They must also  have 30 specializations, five of which have to be the advanced level. And they must field at least 50 implementation specialists.

Oracle rolled out its new OPN program, with its  remarketer, silver, gold and platinum tiers, last year. Ten percent of Oracle’s partners have  achieved platinum status, Althoff said on Sunday.

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