IBM Blades Fuel Arrow's xSeries Growth

Strong acceptance of blade servers in enterprise accounts is fueling explosive growth at the distributor.

May 21, 2004

2 Min Read
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Strong acceptance of blade servers in enterprise accounts is fueling explosive growth in IBM's xSeries business at distributor Arrow Electronics' Support Net Division, according to an Arrow executive.

Eric Williams, Support Net's executive vice president, told some 800 attendees at the May Days solution provider conference in Indianapolis Wednesday that the division's xSeries business was up 61 percent for first-quarter 2004 compared with the year-earlier period.

"[Blade servers] have come into their own from an enterprise computing point of view," Williams said. "IBM from a technology viewpoint has created very reliable, scalable servers, and you're starting to see them gain a foothold in the enterprise infrastructure. People are consolidating their applications onto banks of blade servers."

Williams said xSeries sales traditionally have accounted for 2 percent to 3 percent of Support Net's revenue but would likely reach 8 percent to 9 percent of overall revenue in 2004 due to the high amount of blade server sales.

Kevin Gruneisen, senior sales representative for xSeries at Solution Technology, a solution provider in Indianapolis, said IBM's blade server sales are growing dramatically. He said that in the first quarter, 15 percent of Solution Technology's xSeries server sales were blades. But in the second quarter ending June 30, he expects that number to grow to 41 percent of xSeries server sales."Blade servers are the hottest [IBM server] technology since the iSeries was introduced," he said.

To facilitate blade server growth, Support Net said it has formed the Arrow Blade Server Enablement Team to focus specifically on blade sales. The team is a group of sales and technical support people trained in IBM's BladeCenter technology that will offer solution providers architecture assistance, deal structuring and on-site consulting, among other services.

According to research firm IDC's fourth-quarter 2003 Quarterly Server Tracker, IBM held about 44 percent of the blade server market on a revenue basis compared with 31 percent for its nearest rival, Hewlett-Packard.

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