IBM Intros Channel-only FlexPac Converged Infrastructure Bundles

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The Flex System Manager is optional, Schlageter said.

The FlexPacs are expected to compete with Cisco UCS, HP Matrix, and Dell Active System converged infrastructure offerings.

IBM is not providing a reference architecture for FlexPac similar to EMC's VSPEX or NetApp's FlexPod or ExpressPod, Schlageter said.

The decision was made to give IBM's solution providers the flexibility to deploy both virtual and bare metal workloads, he said.

"In addition, these FlexPac bundles will allow our clients to leverage their current investment in non-IBM technology while they work to implement a complete converged solution," he said.

Since IBM last year unveiled its PureSystems and Flex System strategy, the company has sold over 4,000 Flex Systems and signed up over 1,000 partners worldwide, Schlageter said.

"My goal is to have 90 percent of our PureSystems business go through the channel," he said. "And we want 100 percent of our general business, including large enterprise and midmarket customers, to go through channels."

It is significant that IBM has make the FlexPac a channel-only offering, said Fred Cuen, senior vice president and general manager for IBM business in North America at Avnet Technology Solutions, the Tempe, Ariz.-based distributor.

"It's part of a continuing move by IBM to remain committed to the channel," he said.

Cuen said solution providers can ask Avnet to do the configuration of the FlexPacs before shipping to the customer site, or can have the configuration done by IBM which can then drop-ship to the customer.

Solution providers working with Avnet can take advantage of the Avnet Solution Path, which Cuen said provides partners with help on marketing, education, and enablement activities for a number of specific verticals.

The FlexPac bundles are now available. Neither IBM nor Avnet would discuss pricing.

Wysocki said the FlexPac bundles offer solution providers an additional 30 points or so of discount beyond the channel discount for the components if purchased individually, letting a complete FlexPac solution to be sold for as low as $30,000. "That’s what I meant by aggressive discounts," he said.


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