High availability solutions maker Stratus Technologies has entered into its’ first distribution deal in North America, which will see it make its everRun Enterprise fault-tolerant software available to x86 servers through distributor Arrow Electronics. The agreement covers both the United States and Canada.
“Distribution is a very new part of our channel strategy, and this is the first time for us in North America for either hardware or software, although we have had some small boutique distributors in other parts of the world,” said Susan Bailey, vice president of sales and services Americas, at Stratus Technologies.
Stratus, which has been around for decades, and which began as a maker of fault-tolerant, fully integrated and largely proprietary hardware platforms, evolved into open systems, and then to making a FT server that operates on industry standard systems. They were still hardware-focused until five years ago, when they developed their own Avance software platform. Their software strength was significantly deepened 18 months ago when they acquired Marathon Technologies.
“We integrated our Avance with Marathon’s everRun platform to create everRun Enterprise and applied it to the software layer,” Bailey said. “It is truly FT, and this is an enormous differentiator for us.” Bailey indicated they see strong demand from customers with applications that demand availability, as well as a huge interest for cloud-based workloads.
While Stratus developed a channel years ago, Bailey said it was fairly limited in its’ focus.
“When I joined Stratus two years ago, we had a number of different channels, but they were more horizontal and vertical focused,” she said. “We needed to bolster a clear set of routes to market, and now the channel is a growing and vital part of our organization, as we are beginning to create channel capacity and partners.”
Arrow will play a key role in creating that capacity.
“We saw some really unique attributes in Arrow,” Bailey said. “Arrow has had a long partnership with IBM, which we can leverage. They also have a diversified channel and do a good job of business development.”
Initially, only the FT software will go through distribution, but that could change.
“Out of the gate it’s only everRun, but that doesn’t mean long term we won’t establish distribution partnership in other areas,” Bailey said. “There is a lot of interest in our cloud solutions as well. We will see how this evolves.”
Bailey said that while Stratus was working with IBM on putting this distribution deal together before IBM announced it would sell the x86 business to Lenovo in January, she said that the deal could be a positive one for them.
“At a minimum it’s neutral for us, and it can be positive,” she said. “Lenovo’s business model and cost structure is well suited for this. We have been working closely with Lenovo as they complete their due diligence and approach the deal closure, and we are working with the IBM team which will become Lenovo.”
Stratus expects to pick up the old IBM x86 channel, plus new partners Arrow can recruit for them, plus some of Lenovo’s channel.
“We aren’t concerned about having too many partners,” Bailey said. “We want to expand our channel capacity, and the IBM captive audience channel will be significant here.”
Lenovo is a relative newcomer to the server space, although they have made it a high priority in the last two years, and also has a high number of smaller partners in their channel. Bailey said many of these partners won’t be a good fit for Stratus at this point in time, but that some will.
“Some Lenovo partners have expressed interest in us,” she said. “We need a channel network that is sophisticated with some services capability which adds to their total solution set.”
Bailey also noted that Stratus’ recent purchase by Siris Capital Group had no impact at all on the new relationship with Arrow.