Open Source Channel AllianceIt's another small step for open source in the IT channel. Specifically, Hewlett-Packard and the Open Source Channel Alliance (led by Synnex and Red Hat) have launched the Open Source Jump-Start Appliance. Here's what HP's move means to VARs and their customers.

When the Open Source Channel Alliance launched in April 2009, the organization (led by Synnex and Red Hat) vowed to develop turnkey open source solutions for Synnex's 15,000 resellers. HP's Open Source Jump-Start Appliance is the first fruit of that work.

According to a statement from the Open Source Channel Alliance, the server "can be shipped to YOUR customers to use for up to 60 days to determine if the solution works for their business."

The Appliance includes:
"an HP DL 165 G5 server, RHEL 5.0 Enterprise, JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, an Open Source database (such as Ingres or EnterpriseDB), and one or more of our other Open Source applications (from Zimbra, Zenoss, Zmanda, Pentaho, JasperSoft, Alfresco, or Likewise)."

Staying Focused

When the Open Source Channel Alliance launched in April 2009 the initial membership was 11 companies. The VAR Guy was impressed but also a little disappointed the association didn't include major ISVs like MySQL and SugarCRM.

Instead of adding ISVs to the alliance, Synnex plans to focus on a few initial solutions with the existing alliance members, according to Robert Stegner, senior VP of North American marketing for Synnex. Similarly, Roger Egan, VP of North American Channels for Red Hat, says the alliance involves a long-term strategy to empower resellers with open source solutions. The VAR Guy chatted with both Egan and Stegner during CompTIA Breakaway 2009 in Las Vegas.

Competition Looms

Meanwhile, Tech Data -- one of Synnex's top distribution rivals -- has been planning an open source channel initiative of its own. Although details have yet to be officially announced, The VAR Guy got the complete scoop in May 2009.

More recently, Novell and Tech Data announced a strategy to promote open source software appliances to channel partners.

For resellers that work with Synnex and/or Tech Data, there's little doubt that open source are gaining mind share in the IT distribution channel.

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