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IBM Entices SMB To Blades With Special Leasing, Entry-Level Switch

IBM Wednesday said it is rolling out financial incentives and a pair of new products intended to make it easier for solution providers to move small- and mid-sized business to a blade infrastructure.

Armonk, N.Y., IBM improved its leasing terms for SMB, released a low-cost 1Gbit Ethernet switch, and added a $500 rebate for solution providers that use an IBM Global Services installation service, said Matt Wineberg, worldwide product manager for IBM BladeCenter. Later this month, IBM also plans to release an iSCSI connector that can be used to integrate iSeries systems with BadeCenters, he said.

In the SMB market, Blades are seeing a bump in sales as businesses look to take on more compute power without increasing space in the data center and/or get more serious about server consolidation. Wineberg, who noted that IBM sells between one-fourth to one-third of its blades to customers with less than 1,000 employees, said SMB is "more and more critical each day, month and year."

Joe Vaught, COO at PCPC, a solution provider and IBM partner in Houston, is most enthusiastic about the leasing options. "SMB is growing so fast, and they would like to use something other than a bank's credit line to grow," he said.

IBM Global Financing (IGF), IBM's financing arm, has improved its rates and has begun offering SPIFs and better account service to encourage more SMB solution providers to use its services, Vaught said. In fact, he said an IGF rep recently helped PCPC close an $8 million dollar deal for one of its customers.

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