Solution Providers: HP Is Upping The Server Ante Against IBM, Cisco

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The IBM-Lenovo relationship also creates new server opportunities for not only HP, but for any major server vendor, Venero said. "HP wants to take advantage of FUD from the opportunity," he said.

While incentives for selling servers are always helpful, the fact is that few deals are done based on servers only, said Chris Case, president of Sequel Data Systems, an Austin, Texas-based solution provider and HP channel partner.

"We bring our customers servers, storage, networking, VMware and our services," Case said. "Unless there's some giant server deal, the reality is, servers are the smallest piece of the deal. If there's a bunch of networking and storage, we can get good discounts, which also extend to the server side."

Another HP solution provider, who asked to remain anonymous, said that HP's incentive moves over the year are in a way similar to small adjustments on the thermostat to adjust to changing temperatures.

"When HP wants changes, it changes the discounts," the solution provider said. "If HP is comfortable, the discounts fall. Typically, when HP is targeting a Cisco or a Dell or another vendor, we see a relaxing of the thresholds business manager approve against."

But because servers are in some ways commodity products, getting customers to change brands with financial incentives often works, the solution provider said.

"If a customer buys 100 Dell servers this batch, and 100 IBM servers next batch, getting an order for 100 HP servers later is not an issue," the solution provider said. "Blade servers are more sticky. Only one manufacturer's blades fit in the chassis. But with IBM selling part of its x86 server business to Lenovo, and with Dell going private, it's actually easy to walk into a company and say, 'Now's a good chance to look at your server infrastructure. This is something you will be using for the next five years.'"

HP was unable to directly respond to CRN requests for further information. However, an HP spokesperson, in an emailed statement, wrote, "We are providing technical and financial tools to help our partners transition their customers to HP."


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