Intel: New Server Software Can Boost Partner Margins Up To 30 Percent


On the heels of announcing its new Xeon E5 server processors, Intel Monday unveiled its new Server Continuity Suite of software for small and medium businesses, which the chip maker claims could boost partners’ revenue by nearly 30 percent with every server sold.

The chip maker lifted the curtain on the suite during its keynote address at Intel Solution Summit 2012 in New Orleans.

The Server Continuity Suite of software is designed to provide small and medium-sized businesses with an intuitive graphical user interface for managing either rack and pedestal or modular server products, explained Intel’s Diane Bryant, vice president and general manager of the server platforms group. The software provides SMB customers with real-time continuous backup, point-and-click systems management, storage, RAID, and data protection.

Unlike traditional backup software, the Server Continuity Suite allows SMB IT teams to restore a lost system to any point in time – even if the loss occurred just seconds ago.

"This kind of continuous back-up… we think about it as being associated with high-end, high-cost solutions," Bryant said. But with the Server Continuity Suite of software, she said, channel partners have the opportunity to bring these capabilities "down to the small purchaser."

Intel said the new suite is good for news partners and can grow their margins by 25 to 30 percent with each server sale they close. And, according to Bryant, nearly 25 percent of SMBs today lack this sort of technology, so the need is significant.

This resistance, she said, stems from server software management solutions being historically complex to deploy. But with an integrated, and easy-to-use graphical interface that hurdle is eliminated.

In addition to the Server Continuity Suite of software, Bryant said that the company has responded to partners’ requests to broaden its portfolio of server platforms and motherboards to more efficiently target their solutions around end-customer needs. As part of a larger initiative called EPSD (Enterprise Platforms and Services Division) 3.0, Intel has tripled the number of products in its server motherboard and chassis portfolio, offering channel partners and their customers greater and more customized choice.

Bryant said partners will now have access to 19 new motherboards specifically tailored for end customers within the SMB, high-performance computing (HPC), cloud data center, and embedded technologies space. The new boards feature intelligent modular designs that can be customized to yield over 100 different SKU combinations. Partners can also offer clients a total of 37 new chassis, designed to meet a range of needs including high-density and modular storage.

"Everything you have asked for, we believe we have supported," Bryant told solution providers.

Partners including Appro, Bell, Penguin Computing, Seneca, Proactive Technologies, SuperLogics, SGI, and ZT Systems are already leveraging the newly expanded platform, she said.

In addition to a broader range of hardware offerings and a new server management software platform, Bryant offered a larger message of growth and opportunity to partners, who now act as Intel’s third largest customer in the server space. Demand for solution providers' networking and storage services is rising thanks to an influx of connected devices being leveraged by users around the globe. Today there are approximately 15 billion connected devices world-wide, and this number is only expected to grow.

"Devices you need to think about as an extension of our data centers," Bryant said.

Partners within the data center space are especially poised to grow in five unique segments, she said. The first is cloud computing. "We have been working toward our cloud 2015 vision," Bryant told the crowd. This vision involves the development of open standards, and a more efficient method for moving applications from one cloud to the next – whether it’s public, private, or a hybrid model.

Small businesses, storage, and high-performance computing, along with embedded technologies including digital signage, were also cited as increasingly lucrative segments for the data center channel.

As partners warm up within these new markets, they can also find new, more immediate opportunities within the recently launched Xeon E5-2600 line of server processors, Bryant said. The Intel Enabled Solution Acceleration Alliance (ESAA) has unveiled a new line-up of more than 50 pre-validated configuration guides (or "recipes") to help resellers again deliver more targeted and customizable Xeon server solutions to their customers.