Expert Speak

Two-in-one is the Game


After Caldera Inc acquired two divisions, the Server Software Division and the Professional Services Division from SCO in the first quarter of 2001, the company, a typical Linux solution provider consolidated its position as a vendor offering a cohesive family of solutions by unifying Unix and Linux.
p____p With the acquisition, the company expanded its focus areas to target both the Unix and the Linux market globally and in India. Through its OpenLinux, OpenUnix and SCO OpenServer product lines and services, Caldera enabled development, deployment and management of unified Linux and Unix platforms.
p____p Since early this year-after consolidating its position in 2001 in India-Caldera has been expanding its product and services offering for the Indian customer. Besides launching solutions that allowed cross-Linux distribution and cross-platform management, it enhanced its education and training initiatives in the country.
p____p The company is now endeavoring to combine the performance reliability, scalability and security of a Unix system with the openness of the Linux platform.
p____p Talking about the increasing demand of Linux in India, Srikant Acharya, country director, India and south east Asia, Caldera International says, “There has been an increase in the rate of adoption of Linux across the Apac markets. According to an IDC report, India has one of the highest Linux shipments, with CAGR pegged at 79.3 percent by 2004. It is moving away from being a developer�s tool to a packaged solution for enterprises.”
p____p Today, Linux as a platform boasts of its own product support and certification like any other platform.

Business Plan

Caldera has two distinct lines of business, namely the platform business line and the services business line. Under the platform business line, Caldera�s client, server, management, provisioning and back office products come together as a single unit, named Caldera Volution.
p____p This allows uniform installation configuration and administration across all of the Linux and Unix operating systems. “This system management solution helps in maintaining an open development and application environment, as well as a common administration of the systems,” adds Acharya.
p____p In its services business line, Caldera supports its integrated platform strategy by providing a wide range of services to its customers. “For propagating our cohesive Unix and Linux strategy, the right support plays a major role. We are constantly trying to enhance our support system to help Linux grow,” he informs. Services include product support, professional services like managing large-scale projects, education, training and online services.
p____p In India, the company is focusing on increasing Linux- and Unix-trained manpower. According to Acharya, only when there are trained professionals will there be an increase in demand for the Linux platform. Currently, the company has a training set-up on its premises in New Delhi. But as the demand increases, Acharya plans to increase its training set-up through franchisees across the country. Realizing the market potential in the country, Caldera has also set up its Asia Pacific Technology Center, which is involved in hardware certification, application testing, device driver writing and custom engineering on a global scale. It also acts as the worldwide migration center for the company.

Product Push

Typically a Linux company, Caldera is aggressive about making this the preferred platform in India. Though Acharya claims to put equal focus on Caldera�s Unix solutions, as he puts it, Unix is already a robust platform quite easily accepted by the Indian user.
p____p “We are not limited only to Linux, our Open Unix is a popular product here. It has a Linux kernel personality that allows Linux applications to be run on Unix. But there is a perceived growth in Linux here,” he comments.
p____p In order to make Linux an all-encompassing open platform, Caldera is constantly seeking to make the OS compatible with other platforms including its rival Microsoft�s Windows platform. A case in point is Caldera�s Volution Manager 1.1. It can help enterprises manage a multi-platform set-up via one interface.
p____p “Currently, the product helps in managing different Linux and Unix versions through one interface, very soon we will be adding the capability to manage a Windows-based network through the same management software,” Acharya adds.
p____p Even the new Volution Messaging Server supports all open standards for interoperability with MS Outlook, Outlook Express and other popular mail clients on almost all platforms.
p____p Currently, Caldera is targeting major enterprises, PSUs, government agencies, and the Indian defense sector. In the current year, the company is also looking at the financial and banking segments.
p____p Acharya explains , “As the mission criticality of businesses is going up rapidly and they are looking at the low cost of deployment, Linux provides them a good reliable option.”

Distribution Stratagem

As the market demand for Linux grew in India, Caldera changed its distribution strategy across the country. It moved from having a single large distributor to a multiple-distributor strategy. In this strategy its three distributors, Sonata Software, Computek and Tech Pacific work in three different ways to target different customer needs. “While Tech Pacific looks at simple distribution of our solutions, Sonata does product architecturing,” says Acharya.
p____p With the steady growth that Linux has seen overall in the Indian market, Acharya hopes to grow by 35 percent over the last fiscal.
p____p In India, Caldera targets its products at different levels of buyers, from developers to solution providers to application service providers. It has set up a partner program that provides global support, training and marketing support to help partners build and sell Caldera�s solutions.
p____p Moreover, the company recently revised its global partner programs to further aid its solution and channel partners. “We offer free memberships, technical information, online education and software patches to our partners,” Acharya says. The company also holds one-to-one briefings with its partners to enhance their knowledge on Caldera�s products.
p____p Over the year, Acharya has been looking at increasing Caldera�s presence amongst OEMs, ISVs and IHVs in the country. It has tied up with HCL, Wipro, Accel ICIM and Acer so far for certification programs. “We are working with HCL and Acer for hardware and application certification so that they can promote more Linux- and Unix-based systems in the country,” he informs.

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