IBM confirmed today it has its sights set firmly on Compaq's lead in the Intel-based enterprise server market, when it introduced its Netfinity 7000 server in New York.
It has now positioned this as its number one server offering, with Intel-based systems now taking more importance in IBM's strategy than its AS/400, RS/6000 and S/390 ranges, the company admitted. Sam Palmisano, senior vice president of IBM's personal systems group, said: "We've learnt a lot about PC servers in the last 18 months. Enterprise computing originated with IBM and it's in our hands."
He claimed that IBM had taken all the knowledge it had acquired through selling servers based on all its different platforms and applied that to the Netfinity range.
Part of IBM's plan to succeed is to offer corporate-style services, more familiar in the mainframe world, with industry standard technology. "We're going to aim the Netfinity at the industry standard environment," he said - backed by IBM's ability to provide support, financing and the integration of applications. "This is a statement from IBM that we'll embrace our partners from Intel and begin to scale it into this opportunity segment," he said.
"Our clients demand this from IBM and want the same level of services they get in the enterprise server space."
Palmisano's announcement was backed up by a live autofeed, using Proshare technology, from Intel's Andy Grove. He said: "We bring performance and price/performance by continually evolving silicon technology and maintaining compatibility. Very soon you'll see us bring the same technology as the Pro brought to the Pentium II, using and modifying the internal bus structure to bring the full power of micrprocessors to the system builder," he said.
Lineene Krasnow, a vice president of marketing at the IBM PC Company, confirmed that Intel platforms had gained prime importance in her company's plans.
She said: "If you look at the size of the enterprise server market, industry standard component is growing faster than the others at 14 per cent and represents well over half of the total server opportunity."
She added: "We're number two worldwide in the server market at the moment and I'd like more than Compaq. This is a major corporate and strategic commitment from IBM and in the next year we'll significantly gain our market share."
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