Tech Data Gets Sun Linux

Distribution pact also includes StorEdge 3310 SCSI arrays

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Tech Data has signed a deal to distribute Sun Microsystems' LX50 servers and StorEdge 3310 SCSI arrays.

The open distribution agreement allows Sun to market its Linux-based servers to the SMB market, said Joe Serra, vice president of systems product marketing at Tech Data.

"Momentum [for Linux is picking up. The latest IDC numbers say it's starting to mold and gel and get in line with the noise levels we're hearing in the channel," Serra said.

Research firm IDC expects Linux server revenue to rise to $280 million by 2006 from $80 million in 2002.

>> Products could be positioned as edge servers
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>> Solution providers awaiting appropriate applications


The LX50 is more cost-effective than Wintel servers, Serra said. "It's not a high-end solution, but as an edge server or an application server it fits ideally into an SMB or enterprise environment," he said.

Audrey Levi, president of Altek Consulting Group, a Miami-based solution provider, said Altek will consider the Sun Linux servers as more applications emerge for the platform. "I definitely think we'll look at it as more apps come out for it. I'm not sure I'd get into replacing file servers with it, but as an app server, absolutely," Levi said.

Tech Data already sells Sun Cobalt appliances, and the distributor has long been interested in picking up higher-end Sun products, observers said.

Serra stopped short of saying the deal is an entree into a deeper relationship. "I don't know if I'd view this as a first stage," he said. "If down the road it leads to another stage, we're interested in exploring that. But today we're not having conversations, nor is it built into the relationship to try this and we'll get the rest of the line later."

The LX50 is a 32-bit Intel-based system used for edge applications, compute farms, high-performance and technical computing, and custom application deployment.

The Sun StorEdge 3310 SCSI array holds one or two RAID controllers and supports up to two 2U-high/12-drive expansion arrays, for a total of up to 36 disks. The system connects to host servers via PCI SCSI host-bus adapters and to local/remote management consoles via standard SCSI, serial and Ethernet connections.

Tech Data said it would not provide margin information because the servers are often included as part of a larger solution.

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