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Top stories for May 2010

The Hyper-V, VMware choice, and the power it gives virtualizing VARs, was just one of the hot topics for readers in May.

In March, reader interest in server virtualization options was strong. One reason is that Microsoft Hyper-V is starting to show itself to be a viable and cheaper option, at least in shops already invested in System Center and other parts of the Microsoft stack. Oracle Corp.'s continued digestion of Sun Microsystems and its plans for selling hardware and hardware support, renewals and service are hot-button topics in the channel as is the whole area of managed services.

Here are the five most-read news stories for May 2010.

1. Hyper-V vs. VMware: VARs guide customer choice

Server virtualization remains red hot and the virtualization battle line is drawn between Microsoft and VMware . (Citrix Systems is hanging in too.) The availability of a couple of high-quality options means that VARs that know them all are in the catbird seat when it comes to counseling customers on the right option for their needs.

2. Oracle hardware support plans sting VARs

Will the Oracle-buying-Sun angst never end? Doesn't' look like it. Oracle imposed stringent -- and pricier -- new support policies on all Sun hardware. Sun VARs that made a good living selling Sun hardware and the lucrative maintenance and renewals on that hardware worry about Oracle and its direct-sales focus. Face it, Oracle Corp.'s long-standing practice is to sell software maintenance and renewals direct, and most Sun VARs realize it's only a matter of time before it applies that practice to hardware as well.

3. More VARs selling managed services as vendor strife spreads

VARs that offer a rich array of managed services have a better chance of riding out the continuing tough economy than those that don't. The smartest among them know they must promote their own brand and services over and above those of their vendor partners. The fact that many hardware and software vendors continue to ramp up their direct sales efforts (and take renewals and maintenance direct as well) makes it even more important for VARs to manage and support customers' data centers and LANs remotely.

4. Apple dips toe back into channel; other news

The consumer electronics giant continues to fascinate. Apple teased VARs with a new Web page touting channel opportunities. People with long memories will recall that Apple once fielded a vibrant and effective channel -- especially in the education market -- which it subsequently decimated. Still, the halo effect around the iPod, iPhone and now iPad is strong.

5. Top five channel stories for April

The compilation of the top five stories from April made the list of the top five stories in May. How meta is that? In April, readers were intrigued by Cisco's and HP's continuing push of converged data center hardware and layoffs at Symantec.

Check out the most-read news stories for April 2010.

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