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IBM Targets SMBs with Cheaper Power Systems

IBM Targets SMBs with Cheaper Power Systems
February 7, 2013 11:49AM

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Many SMBs have struggled to adopt Big Data and private cloud solutions because they lack the in-house skills and expertise to design and maintain commodity hardware-based systems, IBM said. IBM is helping small businesses tackle these challenges with new Power Systems that don't require specialized skills.

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IBM is pushing to make Big Data and cloud computing a reality for businesses of all sizes with the launch of new, more affordable Power Systems and Storage Systems. The new technology promises to offer insights into Big Data and to simplify data storage in the cloud.

The entry-level and mid-range technology starts at $5,947. The new Power Systems options are based on new POWER7+ processors. The systems are optimized for IBM's industry-leading analytics software, and use underlying technologies from the Watson system including POWER processors and Big Data analytics.

"Big Data and cloud systems that were once only affordable to large enterprises are now available to the masses," said Rod Adkins, senior vice president of IBM Systems and Technology Group. "With these new systems, IBM is forging an aggressive expansion of its Power and Storage Systems business into SMB and growth markets."

SMB Case Study

IBM has noticed that many SMBs have struggled to adopt Big Data and private cloud solutions because they lack the in-house skills and expertise to design and maintain commodity hardware-based systems. IBM is helping small businesses tackle these challenges with new Power Systems that don't require specialized skills and offer advances in virtualization and automation to speed private and hybrid cloud creation.

IBM served up Westside produce, a 700-employee company in Firebaugh, Calif., that contracts with melon growers to harvest, market, and ship fresh melons throughout North America, as an example. The company tapped into IBM's Power System to make it easier to forecast how many boxes of melons will come from multiple fields, sorted by size, variety and grade.

"Perishability of produce is a key challenge in our industry, and having the right technology in place to deliver fresh produce on time is critical for the success of our growers and our company," said Justin Porter, director of technology at Westside Produce. "All of our mission-critical systems run on IBM Power with little to no intervention required. I do spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with issues on less mission-critical x86 problems."

IBM's Communications Mandate

Laura DiDio, principal analyst at Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, told us in order to maintain and extend the success of its Systems and Technology Group, Big Blue is now tasked with differentiating its growing array of solutions and services.

Although the company has proactively brought its entry-level pricing down to compete on a more level playing field with commodity x86-based servers for the last several years, she says, the perception persists among many rank-and-file businesses that IBM servers are out of their price range.

She said IBM Power Systems executives should continue to focus on differentiating the products, delivering competitive acquisition, licensing and technical support costs, and appealing to small- and mid-size businesses. To woo Hewlett-Packard and Dell customers to the Power Systems platform, she said, IBM must emphasize the strength and stability of its overarching corporate management.

"Overall, the newest Power Systems and PureApplication System offerings with the POWER7+ architecture deliver tangible and excellent value for all classes of businesses from SMBs to large enterprises," DiDio said. "Existing IBM customers and prospective customers alike will be well served by the Power Systems' improved performance and throughput, improved consolidation, energy efficiency and world-class RAS."

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