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SuperMicro Builds Channel Presence

As the CEO of San Jose, Calif.-based Supermicro
Computer, Charles Liang defines his role as an
advocate of system builders. To that end, Liang has been pooling the collective purchasing power of his customers to get better pricing on their behalf for a wide range of components beyond processors from Intel. In an interview with
CRN Editor in Chief Michael Vizard, Liang explains how that strategy will help customers of SuperMicro compete more effectively against tier-one manufacturers such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

CRN: How healthy is the overall custom-system market?

LIANG: In September we had a record high and in October we had another record high. And we expect November to have been very good again. We have a 30 [percent] to 35 percent share of the Intel white-box server market. We provide much better costs and price/performance than HP or Intel or even Dell.

CRN: What is your strategy for competing directly with HP and Dell?

LIANG: We like the more technically challenging things, and this is an area where our customer has a better margin. It varies, but margins can be anywhere from 10 [percent] to 20 percent. Today, we have about 45 different configurations and about 15 different chassis. So we can provide all different kinds of combinations to optimize the customer application. A lot of customers feel that three to five choices are not enough. They need a more specific optimization. That is our benefit to the customer. We can also respond better to changes in the market because we have a more dynamic company. We have a two- to three-month time-to-market advantage over them.

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