During the peak days of the SPARC systems market
our US Sun VAR page
was the most heavily trafficked page in the
SPARC Product Directory.
UK VARs page was popular too - although obviously the UK was a much smaller
market. (The entire UK workstation / server market in the late 1990s was
about the same size as that for the single US state of California. And that's
why SPARC notebook manufacturer
sticks and moved from Cambridge UK to Carlsbad Calif. - and why many other UK
start-up computer companies have done the same thing too.)
still see archived UK Sun VAR pages from earlier years by following
the links below. (They don't look exactly right because of the technology used
wayback engine - and changes in browsers
and screen sizes. I'll try and restore backups from that time later. But pages
shown in the links are 99% of what a reader saw at the time. And you can follow
the links too - for an interesting ride down memory lane.)
| In the late 1990s I estimated
that most UK VARs were - on average - about 3 years behind their
counterparts in the US when it came to
web marketing. |
came from comparing the number of known UK Sun VARs in our own database (which
Sun and other SPARC vendors occasionally used for direct marketing) - and
seeing how many of those VARs had web sites.
For UK VARs that
looked like 10% of companies at the same time as the US ratio reached
It was frustrating for me as a web publisher to get ad
inquiries from companies which didn't have their own web sites. Although we did
find ways of getting around that problem. Eventually I dropped the UK from our
business model because the market was too small to make it worthwhile - compared
to focusing entirely on the US.
I discussed this anomaly with many
leading UK IT marketers - both inside and outside the Sun market.
important factor at play here was not ignorance of the web.
couldn't fail to be aware of the internet as a Sun VAR.
It was simply
that UK companies had a selling culture in those days which preferred
talking on the dog
and bone and actually getting in a car (or tube) and physically visiting
customers! Because the UK hot spots for computer use are small geographically
(compared to the US), and because computers sold at higher prices in the UK,
the old style sales culture still worked well enough for many vendors not to
realize there was a more cost effective way to do business.
plus side - those early UK web marketing pioneers got better results than they
would have done if all their competitors had been online at the same time.
I reckon UK VARs are probably just as good at web marketing. And in some
ways - in the use of cell-phone based marketing apps - it's possible that
European VARs are years ahead of the US where the mobile phone infrastructure is
not as good.
the Golden Age for SPARC resellers - 1989 to 1999
VARs played an important part in the 1st decade of the SPARC market opening
customers' eyes to the unknown / or little known - Sun Microsystems. (Before
they became known as "the dot in dotcom".)
technical manager of a VME-bus systems integrator in the real-time Unix
business I signed up my company as a Sun VAR in 1987, and later as an oem for
the SPARCengine 1. Every time we converted a customer to Sun and sold them
their first SPARC systens - the Sun sales guys would come along and say "this
is now a strategic account - go and find someone else."
empathized with the experience of Sun VARs when I set up my
in 1991 to compile and research the buyers guide which was later
endorsed by Sun and
SPARC International as the "SPARC Bible."
exciting days at an exciting time in the computer market - when affordable
parallel computing servers changed from a customized system which an
integrator had to build from integrating disparate blades (we called them SBC's
"single board computers) and multiple operating systems - to a cheap
commodity which you could buy at a click of web cart.
I'd like to
thank the all the content contributors, advertisers and readers who made this
possible during an exciting period in the enterprise computer market.
Kerekes, editor and publisher
PS - the torch for igniting momentous
changes in the computer market has now moved on to the
SSD market. Join me there -
if you're interested - on StorageSearch.com.