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Synnex signs Red Hat for open source SMB push

Synnex and Red Hat launched Open Source Channel Alliance to push open source solutions into SMBs.

Synnex signed Red Hat as a key player in a push to move more open source solutions into small and medium-sized businesses.

The two partners kicked off the Open Source Channel Alliance this week. In the alliance, distributor Synnex Corp. also represents ISVs Alfresco, EnterpriseDB, Ingres, Jaspersoft, Likewise Software, Pentaho, Zmanda, Zenoss and Zimbra. Those companies provide content management, database and collaboration applications supported by Red Hat Linux and JBoss middleware. As such, they bring together key parts of the LAMP stack, an alternative to the Microsoft stack of operating systems, middleware up through databases, tools and applications.

The alliance gives Synnex-affiliated VARs a one-stop shop for the software needed to build an open source offering as well as a single source of credit and financing, said Robert Stegner, senior vice president of marketing for Synnex.

The low-cost LAMP stack has become more attractive in the recession as companies resist what they see as costly software license and upgrade costs.

Synnex, based in Greenville, S.C., is not Red Hat Inc.'s first distribution partner. The enterprise Linux leader already had deals with broadline distributors Ingram Micro and Tech Data. But Synnex adds a broad and deep confederation of VARs with small and medium-sized business (SMB) expertise and clients. That is an attractive demographic for Red Hat, which is seen as the market leader in enterprise Linux but has yet to penetrate SMBs.

Part of the alliance plan is to help get these VARs acclimated to the subscription model and its slow-but-steady revenue flow, instead of the more traditional big upfront software license fees.

Red Hat, which has had rocky relationships with channel partners in the past, has worked to assure partners that not only do they get margin on the opportunities they bring in, but also a piece of the action on the renewals. "If you sell the deal, you get the resale and the growth," said Roger Egan, vice president of North American channel sales for Red Hat, in Raleigh, N.C.

Gregory Rosenberg, owner of RICIS Inc., a Tinley Park, Ill.-based VAR that does a lot of open source work, said the deal makes sense. VARs can provide system and network hardening, virtualization, backup and restore, disaster recovery and business continuity services that are necessary for companies of all sizes.

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