IBM is looking to expand the potential market for its Power processor-based servers and enterprise-class storage to midmarket solution providers with the signing of distribution deals for the hardware with Tech Data and Ingram Micro.
IBM on Tuesday said it has signed on Tech Data and Ingram Micro, two distributors which already partner with IBM on its System x x86 processor-based servers and midrange storage, in order to help recruit midrange solution providers looking to develop enterprise server and storage expertise.
IBM's primary distributors in North America for its Power-based Unix servers and enterprise-class storage until now have been Avnet and Arrow.
IBM's goal with the new distribution deals is to expand its enterprise business reach to both traditional IT solution providers and to global ISVs, said Bill Donohue, vice president of IBM's North America business partner and midmarket sales.
"We believe the new relationships will help us expand into the midrange business segments," Donohue said.
The addition of Ingram Micro and Tech Data to IBM's Power processor-based server distribution list should not be seen as diluting the value of IBM's existing relationships with Arrow and Avnet, Donohue said.
"Arrow and Avnet both remain very strategic to our strategy," he said. "This is about expanding our market. We're looking for lift, not shift, in our market."
When asked about his comments that IBM's Unix market is growing despite analyst reports that show Unix to be a shrinking market, Donohue said that there are untapped opportunities for the servers in customers currently served by midrange solution providers.
"We have a growing market in Unix, but it's not growing like we want," he said. "Solution providers and distributors will not have a complete package of solutions to sell. There will be opportunities to grow the existing Unix market."
Heidi Dethloff, vice president of IBM's North America business partner and midmarket marketing, said IBM's Power-based servers are not only for Unix. "Don't forget Linux on Power," Dethloff said. "It's an important part of the business."
Overall, the market for Unix servers is falling, according to analyst firm IDC.
Gartner wrote in its third quarter 2012 server report that third quarter shipments of Itanium and other RISC-based processor servers, which include IBM's Power family, fell 31.1 percent compared to the same period the year before. Total revenue, however, fell 16.4 percent, Gartner said.
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