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Red Hat's channel is a "multi-billion dollar opportunity"

Red Hat is growing its channel, and to good financial effect. But how?

With as much as 60 percent of Red Hat's $680 million in FY 2008 revenue coming through its partner channel, The VAR Guy reaches a cogent conclusion: "Red Hat-driven solutions are likely a multi-billion channel opportunity now."

Granted, Red Hat's top competition like Microsoft pushes even more through its channel, but let's not forget that Microsoft is a proven entity. Red Hat, on the other hand, is training a new generation of VARs and system integrators to work with Linux and open-source solutions. It has to be both evangelist and business at the same time.

The results look pretty good:

...Red Hat is signing up roughly 8 to 10 new Advanced Business Partners per quarter. But this is more than a Linux story, folks. Roughly 40 of Red Hat's top Advanced Business Partners now sell JBoss middleware solutions, and 29 of those partners focus primarily on JBoss and have yet to take the Red Hat Linux plunge....Another key stat: The recent Red Hat Summit in Boston attracted 3.5 to 4 times as many partners when compared to the 2007 summit.

This is awesome. I'd find it fascinating (and profitable :-) to understand better how Red Hat entices and makes productive this swelling crowd of partners. Europe has traditionally been partner-driven for many software businesses, but the United States, in particular, has tended to prefer a direct model.

What is Red Hat's secret sauce for generating partner interest and productivity in the Americas?