Sun "Sales"

Due to various technical integration issues, this year I was put in the position of making a decision on an OS refresh for our company, which runs almost all Java-based software.?? I've been a user of Solaris for many, many years in very large organizations, and have always been happy with the maturity, stability and quality toolset for diagnosing system issues.?? In my current position in a smaller organization, I recommended Solaris 10 for our primary OS, with Red Hat Linux as an exception case for specialized applications which were Linux only.?? In addition, we were shopping for a directory server, so we settled on Sun's Java System Directory Server Enterprise Edition (whew, what a mouthful - hitherto referred to as DSEE).I called the sales number to obtain a quote on obtaining licensing for DSEE, and a blend of Premium and Basic support levels for Solaris on some of our more critical systems.?? I would have expected to receive a concise response within a day or two at the most, but instead, I was passed around various sales groups for weeks on end.?? We randomly received a call from a Sun reseller which seemed kind of odd at the time, but even they didn't seem to understand Sun's licensing models for DSEE.I decided to start over.?? This time I would call back, and not "confuse" the issue by requesting a quote on two items -- this time I would ask simply for a quote on how to purchase DSEE by itself.?? Later, rinse, repeat.?? I finally called back after a few more weeks of this nonsense, and forced the front line sales rep to give me his direct number.?? Unfortunately for him, I said, he would need to be my proxy through this organization until I got what I needed.After many red-faced phone "conversations" over a period of several weeks.?? I finally received the full story.?? Sun does not sell directly to smaller accounts like ours.?? Great!?? That doesn't bother me one bit, just say that up front, and connect us with a reputable channel partner/reseller.?? We finally got connected with a good rep at a reseller.?? He understood the licensing, and got us a quote within a reasonable time frame.?? We executed the purchase request -- and waited.?? Ten days went by, along with multiple calls to the reseller to find out what was going on.?? Apparently the reseller had submitted the order to Sun, but they just were not delivering on getting the licensing information to us.After all this frustration, I am sorry to say we gave up.???? The executive management in my company (rightfully so) lost confidence in Sun as a software vendor.?? Contrast this situation to Red Hat.?? We called Red Hat, I spoke with a sales representative that day, he explained our options, and told us that our best bet was to purchase from a channel partner such as CDW, as they could offer us better pricing.?? We placed our orders, and were done within a couple days.?? It's a sad story of business and sales issues forcing our hand on a technical decision.?? I can't understand how Sun can be so broken as a company to not deliver on such a simple thing as licenses for a basic software package and support services for a handful of machines.P.S. I should add that throughout this time, we encountered an issue with our software running on the Solaris stack.?? That would normally not have been a show-stopper, we work through issues like this on a regular basis -- but the technical issue on Solaris, in addition to the business hurdles, just turned out to be too distracting for a company our size with larger issues to solve, such as developing our own systems.

Published: August 31 2009

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