Acer Takes On Server/Storage Powerhouses

With 2009 revenues of $17.9 billion, Acer is best known as a major player in the global PC market, but, in what the company calls a long-term commitment, its U.S. subsidiary is entering the commodity server and storage markets with a full lineup of products to be sold exclusively by resellers and the distribution channel. Acer America is targeting small to midsize businesses and high-performance computing applications with rack, blade and multinode solutions based on Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron p

February 22, 2011

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

With 2009 revenues of $17.9 billion, Acer is best known as a major player in the global PC market, but, in what the company calls a long-term commitment, its U.S. subsidiary is entering the commodity server and storage markets with a full lineup of products to be sold exclusively by resellers and the distribution channel. Acer America is targeting small to midsize businesses and high-performance computing applications with rack, blade and multinode solutions based on Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron processors, along with a variety of storage solutions from Hitachi Data Systems.

The 16-server product blitz includes the one- and two-processor Acer tower server (AT) lineup, the four-CPU Acer rack server (AR) line, the 2U form-factor rack multinode server (Gemini AW series) line, and the Acer blade server (AB) line with shared power, integrated Ethernet and Infiniband options. Prices will range from about $700 (AT) to $3,500 (Gemini AW series).

On the storage front, the HDS offerings will consist of the HNAS, AMS, AS and AN series, prices for which will start at about $10,500. Unlike with the server systems, resellers of the storage offerings will have to be authorized because of the systems' greater complexity, says Acer.

In addition to its "unique" channel-only model, the company says it will further differentiate itself from its major competitors--HP and Dell--by offering much lower-cost server options. Acer says it will offer 40 percent lower prices on average for things like memory, drives and RAID controllers.

The company says it understands it faces an uphill battle, stating that while the opportunity is large, its expectations are low. It understands it needs to maintain this level of investment for some time.Analyst Roger Kay of Endpoint thinks Acer's channel-only approach to the SMB market makes sense, as there is really no other way to serve this segment. "They're making a virtue out of necessity because they are a channel-only company."

Kay says he also finds it interesting that the company launched so many products. "They basically said, 'Here's everything--servers and storage.' They need a full portfolio even if it's just a basic portfolio to address this market."

As for the value proposition, Kay says, Acer will be able to undersell its competition because it runs a very lean operation, with very low overhead and operating margins. "It's an interesting proposition, and I can't tell if they'll be successful, but they've thought it out very carefully." Acer is an interesting company that's done a lot of very good things, he adds. "The bottom line is that Acer has a fighting chance with this offering."

Dick Csaplar, senior research analyst, storage and virtualization, IT infrastructure, Aberdeen, agrees with Kay that there is definitely a place for a 100-percent channels dedicated solution provider because VARs and resellers will feel better dealing with a provider that they know will have no potential channel conflict. "Acer does not need to get to the size and scale of the other server and storage vendors to be both a viable and profitable player. They can certify configurations and provide components for opportunities that the majors would not find interesting. I believe that becoming a full line provider is the right move for them."

See more on this topic by subscribing to Network Computing Pro Reports Informed CIO: Data Center Consolidation (subscription required).

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like


More Insights