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Oracle's Linux to Get CDW Treatment

Oracle is teaming with electronics reseller CDW to market Oracle's Linux products in a major deal that could extend the database giant's Linux reach in North America.

"This is an extension of a longstanding relationship we have with CDW," Judson Althoff, vice president of Oracle's platform and distribution alliances, told InternetNews.com. "They are one of the largest resellers we have worldwide. It means that, in addition to selling all of the software licensing for Oracle's other products, they'll be offering support for Oracle Unbreakable Linux."

As a result of the new collaboration with CDW, Oracle is in a position to extend its entire Oracle Linux platform strategy. Other vendors are sure to take note of the possible impact.

"It's important to the platform side of Oracle's business because we've invested heavily in HP, IBM and EMC and having those vendors support the Unbreakable Linux strategy," Althoff explained. "CDW is unique in that they not only sell Oracle technology, [but also] sell all the other hardware lines, too. So the customer can get all the hardware, software and support they need from a single point."

Oracle first announced its Oracle Linux support program last year. It includes both standalone support for existing Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) customers as well as an Oracle branded version of RHEL that is supposed to be binary-compatible.

Althoff noted that CDW's configuration capabilities provide end users with on-the-spot bundles of hardware, software and operating systems.

"They can configure any one of our technology products on any one of the platforms they distribute in a customized fashion," Althoff noted.

This means that CDW customers could also potentially choose Oracle's Linux support as an alternative to existing Red Hat installations.

David Cottingham, a director with CDW's partner and product management group, declined to comment on financial details of the deal. "It's another case of offering customer choice," he told InternetNews.com.

CDW also resells Red Hat and Novell Linux solutions. He said adding Oracle's Linux to the mix won't complicate things. "We'll handle it the same way we do everything every day whether it's an HP or IBM server issue," Cottingham added. "We don't say 'this is the right one.' We take customer input and then help them to achieve the conclusion that matches best. It's not a lead with one or the other."

Cottingham declined to comment on whether CDW would offer its sales people more or less commission to resell Oracle Linux, given the reseller relationship with Oracle.

Oracle's Althoff said the reseller arrangement with CDW isn't exclusive, but stuck to general terms about whether other channel reseller deals would follow.

"CDW is among the largest though the other large one is Dell who is also a reseller," Althoff said. "We look for partners large and small whether it's a volume sales opportunity or a local opportunity."

Or an opportunity to raise the Linux profile among Oracle's product lines.

"I think the barrier we're successfully breaking down is the myth of complexity and difficultly of use," Althoff said. "When you think about Oracle, you think robust high quality solutions and you get the impression of complexity. What we've done with CDW is bring down complexity and total cost to make our offering more competitive than the other major vendors."