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SUSE Overhauls Partner Program for Linux, Storage, OpenStack Cloud, Management

Ronald de Jong

Ronald de Jong

SUSE is launching an overhauled channel partner program to address four key customer needs: Enterprise Linux, software-defined storage (SDS), OpenStack cloud and systems management. The bolstered partner efforts comes only a few weeks after HP Enterprise (HPE) named SUSE as its preferred Linux distribution.

Partners will benefit from new, improved training and certification pathways along with enhanced profitability structures that recognize and reward partners’ engagement with SUSE, the open source company claims, according to Ronald de Jong, president of sales at SUSE.

At first glance, the company is caught between Red Hat Enterprise Linux (corporate servers) and Canonical’s Ubuntu (public cloud Linux). But take a closer look and you’ll see SUSE enjoys signs of momentum. Revenue in the last fiscal year grew more than 18 percent, and the employee base grew 23 percent, primarily in areas dedicated to Linux development, customer care, and sales and marketing, SUSE said in September 2016.

Also of note: HPE in September confirmed SUSE as its preferred Linux platform. The move involved HPE’s plan to sell certain software assets to Micro Focus — which also owns SUSE.

OpenStack Partner Opportunities

OpenStack is a cloud software platform that businesses can deploy internally, and service providers can deploy for public clouds. Rackspace and NASA pioneered OpenStack’s early development. But a range of companies now offer OpenStack distributions, much in the way that multiple Linux companies offer their own distributions of the operating system.

SUSE has been inking OpenStack partnerships with a range of companies. A SUSE-Mirantis partnership, for instance, provides Mirantis OpenStack customers with enterprise Linux support from SUSE.

Still, competition looms around every corner. Red Hat, for instance, has been growing its $1 million OpenStack customer wins.

Systems Management and Monthly Recurring Revenues (MRR)?

SUSE also offers IT systems management tools, some of which integrate with Microsoft System Center. I’m particularly intrigued by the Subscription Management Tool. I don’t know if it’s multi-tenant for service providers. But I do wonder if MSPs and other types of service providers could wrap recurring revenue opportunities around the tools.

We’re checking on that point.

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