Oracle Direct not a threat, says Sun reseller

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Oracle Direct not a threat, says Sun reseller

Oracle's decision to sell direct to its top 4,000 accounts after swallowing Sun should by all rights be a cause of great anxiety at Australia's top Sun reseller, Frontline Systems.

Frontline, one of the most successful resellers of Sun hardware, "plays almost exclusively at the top end of town" with "99.9 percent" of customers among Sun's top 4,000, according to general manager Bill Frangeskakis.

But Frangeskakis is confident Oracle won't make a policy of stepping on Frontline's toes once the Sun merger is ironed out.

"The information we have now is that if we are adding value to the account and have a relationship, there is no way Oracle will uproot that," he told CRN. "Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO, has simply said any partner that doesn't add value will be struck off. Well, we see what we do as adding value."

The only danger, he suspects, is in how Oracle and Sun reps interpret Ellison's comments.

"It's when the rubber hits the road that it counts," he said. "Most sales reps will interpret it as they truly should, others will see it differently."

Frangeskakis said the strength of Frontline's relationships within the management of Sun, Oracle and customers will protect the reseller's business.

"If an individual [Sun/Oracle] sales rep said we'll take that [Frontline] account, they would be overturned. That's the strength of the relationships we have. We have enough contact within the hierarchy to make sure people behave appropriately."

While he does not play down Oracle's direct sales capacity, Frangeskakis said Frontline "owns the relationship" with large Australian customers and can manage an account from sales "right through the procurement and logistics."

"We can deliver that and a myriad of stuff in between," he said. "Existing Sun customers want Sun's engagement model to be maintained."

Frangeskakis said that IBM, Sun and HP - despite their best efforts - have not managed to steal a single Sun account during the acquisition.

"We expect our business to continue, if not grow," he said.

Further, Frontline has already engaged on campaigns with Oracle around the high-end Exadata V2 platform (Oracle database on Sun hardware) after a channel program was launched at OpenWorld in October 2009.

While no Australian partners have officially been certified for open resale rights for the product yet, Frangeskakis said Frontline and Oracle are "working on a go-to-market campaign around Exadata V2 right now."

"We have half-a-dozen opportunities as we speak today that we are looking closely with Oracle to close," he said.

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