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VMware SET change and Adrian Jones exit head top February stories

The VMware partners' acceptance of being charged for Solution Enablement Toolkits and the sudden departure of Adrian Jones from HP topped the February stories.

One of the big stories heading into VMware Partner Exchange in Orlando last month was VMware Inc.'s decision to start charging partners for Solution Enablement Toolkits that had been free. The surprise departure of Hewlett-Packard’s former channel chief (and partner favorite) Adrian Jones was also a big draw, even more so because of speculation that he’ll head to Oracle Corp.

Also popular among readers was an article on the trials and tribulations of the Microsoft Partner Network. Check out the rest of the top five stories for February 2011.

1: VMware charges partners for Solution Enablement Toolkits

VMware’s Solution Enablement Toolkits are no longer free, but that didn’t seem to bother VMware VARs. At least not much. Most of the VMware partners interviewed said that the toolkits, which include designs and standard documents, are important enough that they don’t mind actually paying for them. VMware also added new toolkits for infrastructure virtualization, desktop virtualization and business continuity.

2: Adrian Jones leaves HP

HP partners were scandalized to hear that Adrian Jones, the former channel chief credited for building PartnerOne, left the company. Some believe Jones is en route to Oracle where he will rejoin old pal Mark Hurd. Others think he may end up at Dell or another HP competitor.

 3: Microsoft Partner Network, portal fall short, VARs say

Microsoft’s goal with the Microsoft Partner Network was to make Gold Partner status harder to attain and more elite, but many Microsoft partners -- including some Gold VARs -- said the bar may now be too high. A major pain point is the new partner portal, which many find difficult to navigate, although Microsoft said the program, and the portal, remain works in progress.

 4: New server technologies gain traction in the channel

Cisco Systems helped start the converged infrastructure trend two years ago with its Unified Computing System (UCS) in 2009 and HP soon countered with BladeSystem Matrix.  Now, nontraditional servers like these are gaining traction as are low-energy Atom-based micro servers from SeaMicro and other vendors.

5: IBM pushes midmarket agenda to partners

IBM re-dedicated its midmarket push last month hoping to make itself a bigger player in shops that typically opt for HP or Dell hardware and Microsoft software. Toward that end, IBM offers more incentives for competitive wins and higher margins in strategic areas. The IT giant also revamped partner margins. Software VARs can now get 10 points of margin each for finding and reselling an opportunity and, if they get the new Cloud Computing authorization, another 15 points over normal discount.

Check out the most-read stories for January 2011.

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