IBM boosts Asia-Pacific web strategy

Having shrugged off the bad press it has received for its lacklustre performance in hardware sales, IBM looks all set to dominate the Web server market with the unveiling of its new Unix servers.

At the Blue Thunder Road-show held in Singapore last week, IBM debuted its latest midrange models -- the RS/6000 F80, M80, and H80 -- designed to provide high availability and performance that enables the "NetGen" companies to drive their mission-critical operations effectively over the Internet, said Michael Borman, senior vice president, worldwide sales, Web servers, enterprise systems group at IBM.

Each server is fitted with copper chips and features hot-plug PCI (peripheral connection interface), redundant hot-plug power, cooling systems, hot-swappable disk drives, and dynamic CPUs that isolates potential processor problems by reassigning workload to other processors, thereby allowing applications to continue running.

According to IBM officials, the new server lineup has enabled the company to close the price/performance gap significantly in the midrange enterprise server category against competitors such as Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard.

"Our new models are tailored for e-business. In fact, they were rated the fastest eight-way Web servers in the SPECWeb99 benchmark, a record unmatched by our rivals, Sun and HP. Now that we have the fastest servers and best priced products, we will be very aggressive in going after the customer and explaining our storage systems," Borman said.

IBM intends to step up its effort in recruiting more sales staff worldwide to focus on its Unix Web servers, he added. To bag the lead in the race, the company plans to scale its Unix business quickly to outpace the market.

According to Robert Lye, regional manager for Web server, IBM Asean/South Asia, the company will focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore as well as Asean.

"We have made our pricing affordable to SMEs in the region. Our RS/6000 S80 server -- launched last year -- was popular with our customers here, and we expect the mid-range F80, H80 and M80 products to follow suit," Lye said, adding that the company will also be looking to develop partnerships with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs).

"For us to succeed in the SME space, we need ISVs to develop solutions for our AIX platform. We are working closely with ISVs who provide e-business solutions, and will be introducing very attractive business partner incentive programs in the next few weeks," Lye added.

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