SOURCE: IBM

August 20, 2007 13:59 ET

IBM Collaborates With Clients and Business Partners to Bring Blade Computing to Smaller Firms

IBM Expands SMB-Focused Vertical Industry Program to Include BladeCenter S

ARMONK, NY--(Marketwire - August 20, 2007) - IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new initiatives to prepare business partners for the availability of BladeCenter S, the industry's first blade computing system designed to help smaller firms simplify the management of their technology. In addition, IBM will enable select clients, IBM Business Partners and independent software vendors to provide feedback on final product development for BladeCenter S through a beta program.

IBM's beta program for BladeCenter S spans over 10 countries and includes IBM Business Partners as well as clients. The goal of the beta program is to solicit feedback to help fine tune the BladeCenter S offering, finalizing such product details as the ability for clients to easily deploy and configure blade systems following a "wizard-based" installation interface.

Additionally, IBM Business Partners -- including value-added resellers and independent software vendors -- will be able to provide direct feedback to IBM on application integration, packaging and marketing for BladeCenter S.

"IBM detailed its forthcoming BladeCenter S offering to Logicalis in June, allowing us to prepare both our clients and our sales force for its delivery later this year," said Kevin Gruneisen, IBM System x and BladeCenter brand manager, Logicalis. "We look forward to providing input to IBM that will help influence the final product and, ultimately, meet the needs of our mutual clients."

IBM is working closely with its Business Partners on several additional initiatives in preparation for the availability of BladeCenter S, including:

--  IBM BladeCenter and Storage Solution Center: A new program to enable
    leading IBM Business Partners to work with IBM to establish targeted
    centers to showcase blade and storage technology in action for small and
    medium business clients. These are world-class facilities with multi-
    functional lab space for training and customer engagements, particularly
    SMB clients looking for the integration of blades together with a simple,
    affordable solution to handle storage needs as they manage a rising tide of
    feature-rich e-mail, greater file-print requirements and implementation of
    new applications. IBM Business Partners selected for this program have
    access to IBM marketing and expert content as well as leasing and
    investment.
    
--  IBM Systems Connect Tech Events: Three major global educational events
    held before the end of the year in Europe, Asia and the US to educate IBM
    clients and Business Partners on new IBM products, featuring in-depth
    sessions on BladeCenter S to help IBM's SMB-focused partners prepare for
    the product's availability later this year.
    
--  Partner Advocacy Program and Enablement Activity: IBM will launch a
    Partner Advocacy Program with a select group of partners, allowing
    participants to provide their feedback on BladeCenter to IBM while
    receiving direct attention to their requirements. IBM will also provide six
    of IBM's top distributors with BladeCenter S beta units as well as
    marketing funds to support business partner workshops for BladeCenter S.
    

"The IBM BladeCenter and Storage Solution Center program is an attractive concept. SIS operates a mobile briefing center featuring IBM blade and storage technology and it has been incredibly successful in helping us serve small and medium business clients," said Steve Sigg, CEO of Software Information Systems (SIS). "The Solution Center is an ideal way for SIS to continue our mobile briefing center and, with the forthcoming delivery of BladeCenter S, we'll be better equipped than ever to showcase the simplification and integration of blades to our smaller clients."

Expansion of Highly Successful Vertical Industry Program

IBM also announced today that it will expand IBM's markedly successful Vertical Industry Program (VIP) to involve its entire SMB-focused hardware portfolio, including BladeCenter S.

The VIP was introduced for the System i platform in January to grow a leadership position for both IBM and its Business Partners in sub-industries in which IBM technology can provide a unique business advantage. The VIP has since dramatically outpaced projected success, launching over 140 sub-industries in over 20 countries and exceeding all financial targets. Since its launch, the program doubled the number of new clients choosing the System i platform, driving new client wins for IBM Business Partners.

IBM will showcase BladeCenter S this week at the industry's largest partner event, CMP XChange '07, through on-stage demonstrations and one-to-one meetings with partners.

About IBM BladeCenter

In the five years since IBM first brought BladeCenter to market, the industry has evolved the simplified computing platform from its role powering front-end Web serving applications to a commanding presence in high performance supercomputing environments. IBM continues to radically expand the blade industry with solutions to help a significantly broader set of customers leverage the integration, flexibility and ease of management blade computing brings to help improve their competitive advantage in the marketplace. IBM continues to fuel the fastest growing server market in history towards its predicted growth from $3B to $11B by 2010*. For more information, visit: www.ibm.com/bladecenter.

About IBM

For more about IBM, visit www.ibm.com

* IDC: Worldwide and U.S. Blade Server 2006-2010 Forecast and 2005 Vendor Shares.

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