IBM targets emerging markets, offers cheap servers

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is to launch a new server range specifically targeting SMBs and emerging markets.


IBM will begin offering a new Power Systems server and storage range this month, aimed at both SMBs and emerging markets.

The news, due to be formally announced in Johannesburg today, will document how affordable power servers from IBM are now available to SMBs, as well as the firm's move to take on competitors including Oracle and Hewlett Packard.

Rod Adkins, a Senior Vice President in IBM's Systems & Technology Group told Reuters:

"Big data and cloud technologies that were once only affordable to large enterprises are now available to the masses. With these new systems, IBM is forging an aggressive expansion of its Power and Storage Systems business into SMB (small- and medium-sized businesses) and growth markets."

The New York-based firm's new server range is based on its Power architecture, and comes with IBM's Power7+ chips. The server range starts at $5,947, which IBM says is roughly 50 percent cheaper than their predecessors. In addition, the products come with some elements of software and hardware derived from Watson the supercomputer -- built with power servers -- that was able to beat human opponents on the show "Jeopardy!".

The server range can be used to enable virtualization, private clouds, and analyze vast quantities of data. Buyers can purchase optional PowerVM, and processors can be up to 16 cores. The range will run on AIX, Red Had Enterprise Linux 6.2 or Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11.

"The 710 is competitively priced to commodity hardware from Oracle and HP," IBM said.

The Power Express 710, 720, 730 and 740 servers are targeted at small businesses and potentially may become popular in emerging markets -- such as those in Africa and Southeast Asia -- where industry is developing. By tapping into these markets, it is possible IBM can take on the likes of Dell and Hewlett Packard and sure an additional revenue stream, going beyond standard, high-end clients.

"You have customers that are dependent on what they can afford, and this puts Power into their path," noted Adkins. "Some customers might decide to act small now, and because these products can be scaled they will buy more."

The server range has launched today, and will start being shipped worldwide by February 20.