Tough headway for IBM Regatta

IBM may only sell a handful of its new p690 high-end Unix servers in New Zealand each year, says Auckland-based IT market researcher IDC.

IBM may only sell a handful of its new p690 high-end Unix servers in New Zealand each year, says Auckland-based IT market researcher IDC.

Big Blue declined to reveal its expectations for Australasian market share and sales when the million-dollar machine, codenamed Regatta, was launched last week in Sydney, advising journalists to quiz analysts.

IDC New Zealand hardware analyst Darian Bird says the New Zealand market for high-end servers is small, amounting to one or two sales a month. Consequently, “sporadic” sales of the servers could significantly affect market share.

IBM says its 16-processor p690s, which feature a CPU clockspeed of 1.1 or 1.3GHz, cost half as much as Sun’s 16-processor Fire, launched last month, but run twice as fast. However, Sun was last week disputing the IBM claim on its website.

IBM executives say the server is ideal for data mining and in research, citing Australasian research universities as suitable customers.

The University of Auckland, Regatta’s first customer, was described as “a reference site” by director of IBM systems sales executive Shedrick Harrison. However, its operator, scientist Dr Peter Hunter, is presently in the UK and was unable to comment on the system’s relative merits.

IDC says globally IBM has a 19% share of the high-end Unix server market, far behind Sun on 47%.

Last Friday IBM also announced a “pay as you grow” payment system for its Intel-based X-series server, using modular components that promise easy upgrades. The company claimed this move was “significant” for New Zealand and Australia, saying much of their server markets are Intel-based.

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