The deadline for migration of Sun Microsystems' resellers into Oracle's Partner Network (OPN) channel scheme has been delayed with lower-than-expected numbers signing up and internal system glitches blamed for the hold up.
Resellers had until 15 October to join OPN, when the Sun Partner Advantage scheme was due to close, but the new unofficial deadline of December has been set by Oracle, although true to form it has not communicated this to partners.
"There has been an extension to OPN migration," said one Sun partner, "but nobody at Oracle is talking about it and they don't want to commit to a new date because they are fearful they will miss it again."
According to sources, resellers continue to defect to rival vendors as poor communication, concerns over the direct sales strategy and policies such as charging a membership fee to join OPN have tarred their view of Oracle.
"Oracle resellers are used to paying the accreditation fee but for Sun's hardware channel it was a shock," said another.
To resell Sun servers and storage, resellers must achieve Gold or Platinum status in OPN and accredit a minimum number of sales and pre-sales staff.
The new hardware and software pricing in the expanded OPN scheme was due to be applicable from the middle of this month but according to sources, glitches in the system have prevented this.
"This element should have been live by 1 October but we are now nearly at the end of October and the VAD systems have not been aligned with Oracle's, so are having to place orders under the previous platform," said another reseller.
Talking to MicroScope, Alan Hartwell, Oracle vice president of technology solutions and channel for the UK and Ireland, said he was unaware of the delay but downplayed timeframes.
"Frankly there is no point in making deadlines that people can't meet, we've always been very flexible with the OPN programme, it is good to focus people's attention around a date to try to get actions to happen by a certain time," he said, rather paradoxically.
He added that as partner boss for the UK, he had not received any complaints from resellers about the ordering systems and hoped all 350 Sun partners would join OPN, although he refused to comment on the actual number that had migrated so far.
"I hope all of them would join OPN because there is a huge advantage, you've just got to look at the numbers; Sun had 35,000 customers and Oracle has 350,000," he said.
Oracle's policy is to deal direct with the largest customers but Hartwell said there remained a huge market opportunity and pointed out that as an organisation Oracle did not provide services, leaving it open to partners.