Oracle Offering Partners Sun Specializations

While Oracle’s acquisition of Sun is old news, one question has still been hanging overhead: What about Sun’s channel partners? Well, as of today, at least part of the answer stands revealed as Oracle announces an expansion of their OPN Specialized program to encompass several key parts of Sun’s portfolio. I had the chance to talk to Oracle Senior VP of Worldwide Alliances and Channels Judson Althoff (pictured) for details.

Althoff says that the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specializations have been really good at letting Oracle partners diversify their portfolio and get certified to resell everything the company has to offer. Getting specialized means better training, better support, and in the long run, better customer leads.

Now, Oracle is letting VARs get trained and specialized in fifteen new areas - including Sun’s Solaris, SPARC, Chip Multithreading (CMT), Storage 7000, and StorageTek Tape Libraries. Althoff says more specializations, Sun and otherwise, are coming sooner rather than later as they prepare the appropriate certification processes

UPDATED April 30, 2010 -- Oracle published the following video,  further explaining the OPN Specialized moves:

The Bigger Picture

The idea is to get Sun partners to gear up and join OPN in earnest while also allowing existing Oracle VARs to get up to speed in Sun-developed technologies. Althoff says that of the 35,000 Sun customers Oracle took on in the acquisition, they’re looking to go to a direct sales model with the top 4,000 or so, leaving the rest as open game for Sun-specialized partners.

The flip side of that, of course, is that Sun partners who participate in the OPN specialization programs have access to Oracle’s 300,000-strong software customer base, and Althoff suggests that there’s a huge market for Sun server and storage solutions awaiting partners. Basically, Althoff expects the channel to take the leads in several markets Oracle can’t or won’t pursue.

Another part of the announcement is the “enhancement” of Sun training materials and Knowledge Zones for Oracle resellers, and the launch of a webcast series for partners. But let’s be honest: the real news is that Oracle isn’t leaving Sun VARs in the lurch.

“We’re investing in Sun partners heavily,” Althoff says.

And for the interested or just curious, here’s a full list of those 15 new OPN Specializations, as per Oracle’s press release:

Oracle Sun:
· Sun SPARC Enterprise Entry-Level and Midrange Servers
· Sun SPARC Enterprise High-End Servers
· Sun Chip Multithreading (CMT) Servers
· Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems
· StorageTek Tape Libraries
· Oracle Solaris
Oracle Applications:
· Oracle Policy Automation
· Oracle CRM On Demand
Oracle Database:
· Oracle Database Security
· Oracle Data Warehousing
Oracle Fusion Middleware:
· Oracle Essbase
· Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation
· Oracle Application Grid
· Oracle Content Management
· Oracle Web Center

Meanwhile, rivals are trying to recruit Sun's partners away from Oracle. Recent moves include Hewlett-Packard working more closely with Red Hat and IBM offering special incentives to Sun customers.

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