EMJ VARs to get a bit of Sun

An Ottawa systems integrator is one of a number of EMJ Datasystems VARs interested in the chance to sell Sun Microsystems’ volume products.

“”We’re pleased to see the market open up,”” said Debbie Coulson, vice-president of sales at Ottawa’s Nitro Microsystems Inc, on news that EMJ will distribute

Sun’s Intel and AMD-powered servers and storagesystems.

Nitro Micro, which has a staff of 50, is mainly a Windows shop, although it is certified for HP-UX and Linux.

“”It’s something we’ve looked at before, she said of Sun. “”In Ottawa there’s a lot of clients with mixed Sun and Intel environments, so this is something we want to get into.””

In fact, she added, her sales reps are “”very tickled to hear we way be adopting this.””

While Sun products wouldn’t be the biggest part of its sales, Coulson said “”it’s going to compliment our business in a substantial way.””

The only wrinkle could be the cost of Sun certification, she said.

Coulson and others will find out that and other details shortly: This week Sun and EMJ embarked on a nine-city tour to impress VARs.

EMJ’s parent, Synnex Canada, expects the deal will brighten the bottom line of its resellers.

“”Suffice to say it’s going to be a big line for us,”” said company CEO Jim Estill.

On the hardware side these include x86 and Opteron servers, “”low end”” SPARC-powered Unix servers, Sun Workstations and Sun Ray thin clients, Sun StorEdge 3310 and 6600 storage systems.

Software includes Sun’s Java desktop and enterprise systems as well as StarOffice.

Estill expects demand for the file servers and storage systems will be the biggest among those products.

They will be the first large brand-name server and storage products carried by the EMJ division, usually considered a niche distributor.

Estill figures only about five per cent — perhaps 15 — of EMJ’s 3,000 resellers will sign up for the line.

While the division is now owned by Synnex Canada, the Sun deal is not with the parent. It part that’s because talks between the two companies started before EMJ was bought by Synnex in September.

“”EMJ has always been strong in the Unix space,”” Estill explained, saying Synnex is more of a broadline distributor.

However, he added, that Synnex VARs who want to sell the Sun line can be certified in the same way EMJ resellers must.

That includes filling out a form outlining their qualifications and taking Sun sales and technical training from EMJ staff.

Among the qualifications Estill said he’s looking for are interest in selling the Sun line as well as technical knowledge, such as certification to sell and install other IT products.

“”What we were intrigued by with EMJ was their knowledge of the mid-market and small business space across Canada,”” said Brad Keates, vice-president of channels and partner sales for Sun Microsystems Canada.

“”They really understand this part of the marketplace in a much different way than Sun.””

Until now Sun products were resold here through Arrow Moca and GE Access, who focused on large enterprise businesses. But with Unix sales sagging Sun has been looking for ways to get into the SMB space. Roughly about half of Sun sales have gone through thechannel. “”We think that’s going to be significantly higher in the mid-market,”” Keates said.

In the U.S., its vehicle is Tech Data. However, he said the Canadian division of that company didn’t suit Sun for its northern strategy.

In part that’s because EMJ doesn’t have a big-name server and storage provider in its line, Keates said.

“”Secondly, we really like the Canadian focus they have. We really want to carve out a Canadian identity, and that would have been a little more difficult with some other multi-national distributors.””

That said, the deal with EMJ is not exclusive, he added.

Sun is looking for VARs who specialize in mid market sales, who have strength outside the country’s biggest cities or who have expertise in verticals such as retail, municipal, manufacturing and education.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including ITBusiness.ca. Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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