Server consolidation is an excellent opportunity for VARs, said a high-ranking Sun Microsystems Inc. exec, allowing them to improve their service levels.

Shanker Trivedi, vice-president of global sales operations for Sun, said: “”The big thing in every customer’s mind in terms of IT is doing

more with less.

“”It’s a great way for a computer reseller to call on a customer and say, ‘Do you know what you’ve got?'””

Trivedi said most companies don’t even know that.

“”The only time they know what they’ve got is when it stops working.””

Bundled with its software, Sun server solutions are, for the most part, vendor-specific, but Trivedi said Sun services, interoperates and references with other companies’ products.

“”Obviously we like our resellers to be Sun-biased,”” he admitted, adding Sun gives resellers an “”incentive”” to do so. “”But resellers need to be customer-biased. If I were a reseller, I’d be customer biased.

“”(Resellers) need to concentrate on their customers’ requirements, just like we need to. At the end of the day, the customer runs the show.””

Chris Heaven, president of Beonix Technology Inc., a Belleville, Ont.-based Sun reseller, echoed Trivedi’s comments.

“”If in our opinion a competing product was better for our customers, we would recommend that other product and we would bring in another Sun channel partner with that expertise,”” said Heaven, who trains Sun channel partners across the country on a regular basis.

“”Those people who survived recognized at least two years ago that they really needed to focus on solving business problems for their customers,”” he said, referring to the tough economy. “”Those people who didn’t survive are the ones who would sell any product that they possibly could to their customers regardless of whether it was the right one for the job or whether or not they needed that product.””

Heaven said the problem with some resellers is that they are letting the customer tell them what to do instead of telling the customer what to do.

“”Unfortunately a lot of people in the channel are like baseball catchers,”” he said. “”They’re sitting there waiting for the ball to come to them. That’s not proactive. That’s not what end users want today.””

Key elements of Sun’s server solutions include understanding what the customer is doing and what they want to achieve, giving them the financial tools to do so and testing the solution in its Proof-of-Concept (POC) iForce centers, said Trivedi. Sun also publishes its technical expertise in BluePrint – available in bookstores and online – and provides Reference Architectures to its customers.

“”I’m in what they call in Britain DIY – Do It Yourself – mode,”” said Trivedi, referring to BluePrint. “”You can download the document from our Web site and just get on with it.””

Sun’s server consolidation strategy offers customer’s operational benefits including crunch the cost, reduce the complexity and simplify.

A mainframe migration for a one to four processor server costs U.S. $50,000 and can save a company U.S. $150,000 per annum, said Trivedi.

Putting it into visual terms, Trivedi compared old legacy systems to cooked spaghetti.

“”It’s much easier to move from there to something that delivers business continuity and disaster recovery than it is with the cooked spaghetti, because you’ve got to replicate that,”” he said.

Other benefits include reduced vulnerability to security intrusions, ability to deploy new processors faster and lower risk of technological obsolescence from end-of-life products.

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