Calling it the most important partner announcement it has made since its strategic commitment to Linux six years ago, IBM Wednesday elevated Red Hat and Novell to be members of its Strategic Alliance program.
The move is designed to make it easier for users to buy and implement Linux-based hardware, software and services through a more integrated sales, distribution and services channels.
In concert with the announcement, IBM announced new subscription models that allow IBM to resell Red Hat and Novell solutions with their hardware. The company also announced new channels and access by Red Hat and Novell to its innovation centers, including those based in fast-growing markets such as China and India.
"We can now work to combine subscriptions from Red Hat and Novell with IBM offerings, which is what users have been asking for. In many engagements users want to buy subscriptions in combination with middleware or services on either IBM or non-IBM hardware," said Scott Handy, vice president in charge of worldwide Linux and open source at IBM.
IBM said it is forming for the first time a sales force dedicated to selling IBM products that offer Red Hat and Novell subscriptions to both enterprise accounts and small and midsize businesses. Handy said that sales force is already active in the United States and will begin selling in Europe and Asia next month.