Help for choosing the right server

Intel unveils a new server program targeted at re-sellers and system integrators as a value added service for its customers in choosing and implementing server technology.
Written by Thomas Chen, Contributor

Shopping for a new server? or trying to take your business on-line? Your game plan may have just gotten a boost from Intel as the chip maker unveils a server program to better educate its resellers and outside system integrators on how best to plan and deploy a server system.

A server is probably the first thing you are looking at if you're thinking of going e-business. However, it's not just a piece of hardware that you are looking at. You will need software, e-business solutions, data management, all running together in an environment without causing each other to crash. You'll probably need at least one technology officer. And you'd also want to consider scalability, just in case your web-based initiative takes off like the Millennium Falcon. It's a lot of things to think about. And you bet, if anyone is to pander a $30 000 plus equipment to you, they better be able to tell you a little about these things.

That's what the Intel server program will be about. It is aimed at system integrators, resellers, dealers and Web consultants, so that they will be able to "effectively recommend the proper e-business server solution to their small and medium-sized business and enterprise customers."

"Servers are critical e-business platforms," said Sophia Chew, director of sales & marketing, channel & distribution, Intel, Asia Pacific, "yet some businesses are still using desktop PCs as servers. E-business transactions require servers to be up 24x7x365, and to seamlessly scale up to meet the demands of unpredictable Web traffic. Servers cannot be the bottleneck as competitor's websites are just a mouse click away. They need the performance, scalability and availability to meet the intense demands of e-Business."

Having the right platform is one thing, but then you will also have to find the right solutions to go with the platform. As such, a large part of this, Intel's latest effort to provide value added service to its customers or would be customers, is also about sourcing for and partnering with EBSPs (third-party e-business solutions providers) and ISVs (independent software vendors).

One key component of the program sees Intel trying to match-make resellers with EBSPs, web and application developers and ISVs to make sure that solutions (not just hardware platforms) are delivered to customers.

This effort of Intel to target re-sellers and system integrators comes at a time of a mini-boom in the server market of the region.

According to preliminary results from IDC, the Asia Pacific server market posted record revenues of US$2.9 billion in the first half of the 2000. And unit shipment and revenues for entry-level servers grew 38% and 41% respectively year-on-year.

"Regionally, there has been a huge growth in server demand as companies get onto the Internet to conduct businesses, yet many are still using outdated server systems or lack the infrastructure to meet their e-business needs," said Chew.

"The channel is looking for direction as they help customers prepare for e-business," Chew added.

Don't expect a pure educate the public effort, however. Intel is in the business of selling servers, and though this is a value added service, it is still sales-oriented.

Most of the other major vendors provide similar programs. IBM, for instance, has a comprehensive e-business education program for SMEs. The content of these programs, however, often varies greatly from one company to another, which means, in the end, more headaches for you.

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