GE Access Wants Volume

Sales of Sun volume products in the second quarter jumped more than 30 percent at GE Access compared with last year, even after Sun heightened competition for the Westminster, Colo.-based distributor by authorizing Tech Data as a distributor and letting servers and workstations be sold through companies such as CDW.

"The key change for Sun is they have put together a real product family here as opposed to a lone server unit. Now they have a consistent story there, whether it's two-way or four-way," said Frances Draper, vice president of the Sun business group at GE Access.

With Sun profitable again and looking to the channel to grow revenue, distributors MOCA and Tech Data are eager to snare share from GE Access, Sun's largest distributor. And why not? Sun's year-to-year server volume in the second quarter rose 35.5 percent, topping all other tracked vendors, according to Gartner Dataquest numbers cited by Sun.

GE Access plans to showcase Sun's new four-way Opteron servers at New Frontiers, Draper said.

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Unveiled last week, the Sun Fire V40z starts at $8,495 for a two-way base model. Sun also upgraded the performance and cut the price of its Sun Fire V20z two-way Opteron servers and introduced two workstations based on Opteron processors and Nvidia graphics.

"On the V20, we can't even keep them on the shelves. Small and midsize businesses are using them as servers to do multiple applications," said Will Lopez, manager of sales operations at Advanced Solutions Group, a Denver-based solution provider.

To sweeten sales, GE Access this week plans to announce a Preferred Upgrade Program that allows solution providers to earn rewards by participating in Sun's Upgrade Advantage Program (UAP). The distributor would offer quarterly incentives and rewards to partners that return residual products on time under Sun's UAP.

Sun recently has moved more aggressively to distribute low-end servers via a new Wall Street Technologies Initiative. Led by Sun Senior Vice President Stuart Wells, the plan demonstrates how using Sun software in combination with some of Sun's low-end AMD Opteron and Intel x86 servers can provide more value to customers than running Linux on competitors' hardware.

JOSEPH F. KOVAR and ELIZABETH MONTALBANO contributed to this story.