IBM has licensed its xSeries server technology to Lenovo so the Chinese manufacturer can make its own Intel-based servers, but resellers are expressing doubts over the move.
Lenovo will sell IBM-based x86 servers to small and medium-sized businesses through the same channels as its ThinkPad laptops and ThinkCentre desktops, the company said earlier this week. However, it is merely licensing the technology rather than buying it outright, as it did with those laptops and PCs in 2005. IBM will continue selling xSeries servers.
The deal is likely to start rumours that IBM is retreating further from hardware manufacturing, but both companies deny this, saying Lenovo's channels will take the servers to new users. Lenovo's version of x Series will consist of one- or two-processor systems at the top of a small-business range, while at IBM they will be at the bottom end of a set of servers that extends up to the zSeries mainframes.
"This doesn't make a lot of sense to me," said Nick Christou, director of London-based IT sales and support company Qual-IT. "I would have thought IBM would either keep the brand or sell it." Qual-IT provides laptops and servers to small businesses, and has mostly gone to IBM for its servers till now. "We went with IBM because of the price range, the build quality and the association people have with the IBM name," said Christou.
Although he claims he has never had to return a single IBM server, Christou said he might desert the xSeries if it no longer had an IBM badge: "I might shift to HP if that was the way it went, to be honest," he said "We've been looking more at HP servers lately, because what you get for your money is quite good."