Hitachi Signs Arrow To Build Blade Server Channel

blade server

Hitachi's Server Systems Group, based in Brisbane, Calif., Monday said it has signed an agreement to take its BladeSymphony line of blade servers to the channel with Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions, Englewood, Colo.

Hitachi, which has the top-selling blade server line in Japan but a miniscule market share in the United Sates, wants to get up to 80 percent of its blade servers sold through indirect channels, and needs to expand distribution to do so, said Lynn McLean, vice president of North American sales for the vendor.

Hitachi currently has three top-tier blade server partners working directly with the company, McLean said. "With Arrow, we want to ramp up the channel quickly," she said.

Hitachi has two models of blade servers in the U.S. The BladeSymphony 1000 enterprise-class blade servers include the company's Virtage hardware-based server virtualization technology, based on the its mainframe technology, said Steve Campbell, vice president of marketing and solutions for the vendors. It allows mixing and matching of Xeon and Itanium processors in the same chassis.

Sponsored post

The BladeSymphony 320 fits up to 560 server cores in a 42U rack, and runs on 110 VAC for use in midsize business data centers, Campbell said.

The average chassis with a couple of blades is priced starting in the low $20,000s, Campbell said. The chassis is designed to work with several generations of future Intel processors, but not with AMD Opteron processors, he said.

McLean said her company is looking to use its new Arrow relationship to recruit solution providers that have a consulting relationship with midrange and enterprise customers along with experience with virtualization, server and storage architecture.

Tom Frana, CEO of ViON, a Washington, D.C.-based government solution provider and a partner of Hitachi going back several years, said that his company has sold blade servers from both Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM and Fujitsu Computer Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., and expects to close its first BladeSymphony deal this month or next month.

Hitachi has always been a top-rated vendor partner, Frana said, and he expects its Server Systems Group to be the same. "But it's still a new organization," he said. "We need to see how it looks after the first sale. Right now, we're in the honeymoon phase, and still in love."

Karl Bendorf, senior associate at ViON, said the BladeSymphony products use a lot of Hitachi mainframe technology to provide high-powered processing in a small space, with both reliability and availability.

Bendorf said that, rather than competing against other blade servers, ViON can use the BladeSymphony to take business away from Menlo Park, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems' Sun Fire servers or Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard's SuperDome servers.

With its Virtage mainframe-type virtualization, multiple BladeSymphony 1000s can be ganged together into an SMP multiprocessor configuration, Bendorf said. It can also be used with VMware's software virtualization for customers that require it, he said.