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Red Hat Expands Its Channel

Red Hat intends to grow open service practices in the IT marketplace with the launch of its new Red Hat Certified Service Provider Program (CSP). It's all part of Red Hat's continuing effort to expand its install base and fend off competitors like Oracle's Unbreakable Linux and Novell's SUSE Enterprise Linux.

Red Hat Global Professional Services will provide training to the CSPs, so they can implement Red Hat services and offer them to customers. CSPs will be able to implement the Red Hat Network satellite, which enables the deployment, administration and management of systems.

Rachel Cassidy, vice president of global services for Red Hat, told internetnews.com that the CSP complements existing efforts and is not intended to compete with the company's existing channel offering through its global partners IBM and HP.

"This program is focused on allowing key, strategic partners the ability to resell subscriptions as well as packaged consulting services," Cassidy said. "The consulting services are not support, but rather the hands-on implementation using Red Hat approved methodologies and supported by Red Hat ensuring consistency and quality in delivery."

Red Hat is also taking a measured approach to rolling out the new program starting with only a handful of partners in North America. Cassidy noted that the CSP participants will be partnering with Red Hat customers under Red Hat's lead, as well as being empowered to deliver and expand the Red Hat footprint to their existing customer bases.

"We will be looking to keep the number to a small number across North America, offering expertise in both the Red Hat and JBOSS areas based on skill set, resource and interest," Cassidy said. "This is a Global program and in parallel we are rolling this out to EMEA and APAC."

According to Cassidy, North America is currently ahead, already having engaged a number of initial pilot partners. EMEA and APAC are currently regionalizing the program and identifying candidate partners.

Moving beyond just helping CSPs implement and build Red Hat services for end users, Red Hat will also look to help partners grow in other ways.

"We will be working with each partner to identify partner-specific solution offerings leveraging each partner's core competencies and areas of specialization," Cassidy said, adding that the initial rollout will be on Red Hat tried and tested service offerings.

She said it will expand for additional opportunities under this umbrella, as well as additional service solutions for both Red Hat/JBOSS in-house service solution offerings, as well as partnered solution offerings."