Why have distribution at all?
A very good question to ask during this "realignment" of distribution is why is Novell in disty at all?
They do not offer any products in a retail box or physical media, it is all download based via Novell's Customer Center portal.
It's the same question I've asked them many times, what value add does distribution have to the model. Little to none I'm afraid. Other than someone to confirm part numbers before placement, distribution has very little offer Novell. And because the bulk of Novell's business is via license contracts such as the MLA which are often fufilled directly by Novell, there is very little incremental revenue available to the disty partner.
Novell has attempted to push these larger contracts into distribution, but with the piddling 1% profit margin obtained on the MLA contract, it is actually cheaper for the partner to push the deal direct to Novell than to place the order at distribution and fund the costs for 30-60-90 while waiting on payment.
Disty is not providing high value add in these cases and is simply a relic of the old physical media requirements which is costing Novell and it's partners margin and profitability these days.