Bull to sell Citrix racks to UK government

As if coining the name MetaR@ck wasn't enough, Bull claims the solution from Microsoft, EMC and Citrix can 'R@ck 'n' Roll'

Bull Infrastructure & Systems is to sell a rack-based Wintel server solution to its predominantly governmental user base in Europe. The MetaR@ack system is put together using standard components -- Windows 2000, EMC's Clariion NAS boxes and Citrix Metaframe -- and will be promoted as offering lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than distributed systems.

Since any other supplier could put together such a system, the deal seems to be fundamentally about Microsoft and EMC gaining access to Bull's customer base, mostly consisting of government agencies. "Our added value (compared with solutions from others such as Compaq) is integration and software, selling a tested solution combined with consultancy," said Tom Allender, director of marketing at Bull UK and Eire.

Citrix is the component which provides the low cost of ownership -- the company claims that Metaframe systems have halved the TCO over three years for the City of York and Nuneaton County Council. "We want to replicate this in a standardised way," said James McNab, director of global enterprise alliances EMEA for Citrix.

"We expect to sell 14 of these systems in the next six months," said Allender. The rack price works out at around £780 per user for a 100-user system, or £30 per user per month, he said, so this works out at around a million pounds. A third of the customers will be in the financial sector, the rest being government bodies.

Bull plans to take the systems to the rest of Europe, potentially selling to 14 of the 15 European nations, said Allender.

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