Sun and Dell Compete -- but Not Always -- for SMB Business

Ann All

"Frenemies" are almost as common in business as they are in high school hallways.


That is, business partners are sometimes competitors, which certainly keeps relationships interesting -- and confusing -- over time. So it is with Sun and Dell, two companies that want to sell data center gear to the burgeoning SMB market.


Just a few months ago, Dell agreed to support Sun's Solaris and OpenSolaris operating systems on its servers. One of the reasons it offered at the time was Sun's "new and strong commitment" to x86 systems."


What Sun really needs to appeal to SMBs is more x64 options and more relationships with competitors/partners like Microsoft, according to an IT Jungle article. This is exactly what Sun is doing as it "back(s) its way into the SMB space," says the article.


Sun wants SMBs to know that it sells not only Solaris but Windows. To help it get the word out, it is working with CDW, a well-known reseller that also sells gear from competitors like IBM. Sun's decision to make CDW its preferred reseller has many of its existing resellers worrying that the bigger CDW will poach their business. Says an unnamed Sun solutions partner quoted in a CRN story:

Obviously, any time CDW is involved, I'm concerned. Sun often experiments with its channel programs at the VARs' expense. I don't trust CDW any more than I trust Dell.

Speaking of Dell, it is introducing two new PowerEdge servers, the R300 and T300, which it is billing as "the industry's highest-performing one-socket quad-core servers," according to a Small Business Computing article.

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