Acer on Monday made its most significant product release in the U.S. with the release of a full range of business-class servers and storage, including storage arrays resulting from a reseller deal with Hitachi Data Systems.
For Acer, which has had a very minor presence in the U.S. server market and virtually no business-class storage offering, the new product lines represent a major attempt to be one of the world's premier IT vendors and step up the competition against rivals Hewlett-Packard and Dell.
In addition to the new product lines, Acer has also invested in a complete support infrastructure for its business customers, and plans to serve those customers with a 100-percent indirect channel model.
Acer is building this new business on the back of a strong commercial and consumer PC market and using the experience in business products garnered over the last year in Europe, said Todd Mottershead, the company's senior manager for server and storage in the U.S.
"About one year ago, we launched server and storage products in Europe to test the market," Mottershead said. "Now we're bringing it to the U.S."
Acer is introducing a full line of one-processor or two-processor towers, one-processor to four-processor rack mount servers, blade with Ethernet and InfiniBand connectivity options, and multi-node servers for running multiple applications in cloud environments, Mottershead said.
"We made the strategic decision to launch with a full range of products that matches up well with companies like HP and Dell," Mottershead said. "They've gone through a strong development and quality process. And based on the numbers we're seeing from our Europe business, our quality is second to none."
On the storage side, Acer is working with Hitachi Data Systems to offer a that vendor's AMS midrange SAN array, an entry-level SAN array, a high-end NAS appliance, and an entry to midrange NAS appliance. The entry-level SAN array competes solidly with HP's MSA array, he said. The AMS array will be co-branded with both the Acer and Hitachi name, Mottershead said. The high-end NAS will be sold with its original Hitachi brand, while the other two products will carry the Acer brand, he said. For HDS, the deal represents a good opportunity to recover U.S. market share since Oracle ended its storage reseller relationship with the company in the wake of Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microelectronics.
For Acer, this product introduction is more than just bringing in new product lines. The company is opening its first U.S. competency center in Temple, Texas, and staffing it with technicians to help solution providers with configuration, installation, implementation, training, and proof of concept support, as well as help in solving compatibility issues related to customers' choice of such components as network interface cards.
The new server and storage product line is coming to market with a 100 percent channel model, and is currently building its channel-support infrastructure and channel program, Mottershead said. He said he expects to have all the partner tools in place by mid-year.
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