Novell Inc.’s new strategy of bundling SuSe Linux Enterprise Server with support and training will be a great aid to VARs, according to a Montreal-based reseller.
“It’s a good announcement by Novell,” said Maxime Chambreuil, training director at Savoir-faire Linux. “They finally understood how to sell open source.”
Novell said that it has started to sell the server edition of SuSe Linux for Intel and AMD processors combined with a number of support options and a self-training course.
Buyers have a choice of eight SKUs, depending on whether their systems runup to two CPUs, or up to 16 processors.
Options include standard Novell support (12 hours a day, five days a week, with a phone response guaranteed within four hours) or priority support (round the clock, every day of the week, with a one hour response).
Both options also promise e-mail response within four hours.
There’s also a choice of buying one- or three-year upgrade protection.
The bundle package also includes Novell’s Linux Fundamentals Kit, a manual and CD for administrators to learn more about the operating system which it sells separately for US$396.
A customer choosing two-CPU standard support for a year would pay US$799 under the bundle. That would become US$1,499 for priority support.
“This enables our partners to deliver a complete Linux solution to small and mid-size customers,” said James Simzer, Novell Canada’s director of partner sales and development, based in Toronto.
However, he also said the package is mainly aimed at companies with 250 to 2,000 users.
Novell has about 150 partners here, although not all of them carry or are certified on SuSe Linux.
Until these bundles were created, Novell had not been selling support in this way for SuSe Linux, which it bought in 2004, leaving a lucrative business for partners.
Chambreuil said Savoir-faire has Linux support and training facilities to fill that gap.
But while Novell Canada has now moved into support, it shouldn’t be seen as a threat, he said, but rather an opportunity.
Selling Linux is not about selling boxes of software, he said.
“The company that already has (Linux) expertise won’t buy the CD because they have the expertise. They’ll download the software and make the system they want.”
But, he added, “it helps when everything is bundled for a company that doesn’t have the expertise.
“We should see this announcement as a new way to reach another market for Linux.
“It’s going to help us also because we believe support for Linux is a local business. We know their needs, we know how to adapt their information systems.”
Most of the support his company does is by phone, he said, and Novell doesn’t have many support staff in Quebec.
To help partners sell the bundle, Simzer said Novell has created a number of marketing aids, including scripted customer presentations and e-mail and direct mail material.
Simzer would not release sales figures for SuSe Linux.