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In the third and fourth quarters last year IBM saw sales of its Intel-based server platforms faltering and this year re-instated a System x team headed by Richard Potts to rebuild market lost share.
"There was a concern that there was a lack of clarity as to whether we were driving this space," said Richard Potts, IBM director of System x for the UK and Ireland, "it is strategic to IBM and core to the Systems Technology Group".
Yesterday, IDC reviewed its sales outlook for UK server market in 2009 and stated the first half of the year would be dramatically down. But the analyst expected things to improve in H2 as more customers shift to standard architectures.
This makes x86 ever more important to IBM, a point not lost on Potts.
"The way the market is shifting to a more virtualised and consolidated environment where clients can't afford to keep sprawling one or two way servers plays to IBM's strengths and I am confident that we will drive market share," he said.
The contract signed this year covers all products in System x but Bell will steer clear of the more price led, volume oriented end of the channel, concentrating its efforts on blades and four-way servers and above, along with IBM storage.
"Integral to the plans is the fact we want to sell a lot more IBM storage," said John Toal, president of Bell Micro EMEA, "we plan to sell hardware and software as one integrated data centre solution."
Toal said it wanted to ensure that customers migrating from RISC chose a blade system and it planned to work with resellers with virtualisation skills to go after deeply specialist verticals sectors, but refused to tag the specific areas.
At the tail end of last week, Microscope revealed that IBM has served Ingram Micro with notice of termination on System x, leaving CCD, Northamber, ISI and ETC, Avnet and DNS Arrow carrying the portfolio.