"VA Linux Systems has distinguished itself from other Linux
providers by offering complete systems and systems integration. But
now, in an increasingly crowded Linux marketplace, VA Linux faces
the challenge of competing with the likes of IBM and Compaq.
Larry Augustin, president and CEO of VA Linux, talked with
InfoWorld Editor in Chief Michael Vizard and Executive Producer
Katherine Bull about VA Linux's strategy, its competitors, and how
Augustin plans to differentiate the company."
"InfoWorld: Can you give us a sense of what VA Linux's mission
is compared to everybody else's in the Linux-distribution space and
what differentiates you?"
"Augustin: Well, if you look at the Linux space, there are
people out there like Red Hat [Software] that are primarily in the
software distribution business. So, for example, Red Hat makes most
of its money by selling CDs through a retail channel. Essentially
that puts them in the convenience business. You know, you get a CD
that's convenient to get because it's got everything together, and
you get a manual printed with it, and you get some support that
goes along with it. Our business model is based around selling full
systems and solutions for the customer, so we don't make a retail
CD. We work primarily with customers like dot-coms. Over half our
business is in [selling to] dot-coms. We'll sell them systems,
hardware, and support and services, [and we're] helping them
architect their site, helping them design [the] management
architecture for all their systems, doing some consulting services
around the design of their Web infrastructure, all of those pieces.
So we're working with a fewer number of customers but very much
in-depth technically, offering them both systems and support and
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