Maxava Upgraded to Premium Business Partner Status by IBM
January 31, 2011 Timothy Prickett Morgan
High availability software vendor Maxava announced last week that IBM has bestowed upon it the status of a premier business partner, an upgrade from the previous business partner status that it had previously.
This may not sound like a big deal to those of us on the outside of the IBM midrange partner community, but that elevation will make a substantial difference in Maxava’s business going forward.
As an advanced partner, Maxava was already privy to event and campaign support funding and had access to IBM’s internal business intelligence markets for the areas where it has products to peddle alongside and on top of Big Blue’s products. Being an advanced partner also gives companies access to internal IBM product roadmaps and a spot in IBM’s PartnerWorld Business Partner Application Showcase, a catalog of validated products that run atop IBM systems and software. By getting bumped up to the premier business partner level, according to the official PartnerWorld definition, partners “actively collaborate with IBM to deliver significant client value through innovative solutions” and they also get an assigned IBM relationship manager and can use the Premier Business Partner logo in their marketing and advertising.
There’s more to it than that, of course, and the brochureware on the PartnerWorld site cannot get into the specifics of that. But Allan Campbell, president and chief executive officer at the New Zealand software company, shed a little more light on the situation.
“We have always had a very good tie up with the Rochester Labs,” Campbell explained, which is another benefit that comes to premier business partners but which Maxava already had for reasons I’ll explain below. “But it certainly helps us with marketing, branding, advertising, and raising our profile.”
The relationship between IBM Rochester and Maxava started out a little slow perhaps because of the long history that IBM had with the three early HA vendors–Vision Solutions, which ate rival Lakeview Technology and upstart iTera a few years back to become the dominant HA vendor, and DataMirror, which was eaten by IBM itself. Vision Solutions has been the only remaining premier business partner for IBM i high availability after all those acquisitions–until now.
Maxava had its own IBM connections. As it turns out, Campbell and Simon O’Sullivan, Maxava’s executive vice president, as well as David Garvey, senior developer at the company, and a bunch of others who started out with Maxava 10 years ago were all IBM New Zealand employees who supported the Telecom New Zealand account. That national phone company just so happened to be a big AS/400 shop, and the people that went on to start Maxava created a clustering product called XM, short for extended mirroring, that predated remote journaling. XM was used by the telecom company to keep its AS/400 clusters running and the phone bills humming.
To make the premier partner level, you have to not only make a strong commitment to IBM, but you have to help it move more Power Systems iron than an advanced partner does. IBM, in turn, makes available more funds for joint marketing and advertising to help a premier partner reach the goals that are set. But the premier status has another effect: once you have it, it can be easier to build out an ecosystem of your own channel partners to help peddle whatever it is that you make.
“We’re looking to grow our partner channels internationally, and a lot of potential partners want to see that you have the IBM Premier Business Partner status as a prerequisite to considering you,” says Campbell.