Expanded options will give partners greater flexibility against larger rivals, exec says
LAS VEGAS – By the end of 2011, Intel will offer three times the number of products it currently offers under its Enterprise Platform and Services Division for channel partners offering server-grade products.
Lisa Graff, general manager of Intel’s EPSD, announced the plans, part of the company’s EPSD 3.0 roadmap, at the Intel Solutions summit 2011 partner conference here Monday.
The next generation rollout will start with one-socket motherboards for Sandy Bridge server processors starting in the second quarter, and expanding to two-socket Sandy Bridge options by the end of the year. This generation will also see the return of motherboards capable of supporting four processors for its channel partners, Graff pledged.
The expansion in the number of motherboards for EPSD servers comes as a result of increased customer demand for differentiated offerings for a variety of embedded applications, Graff said. While noting the company’s channel partners have done a great job in meeting that new demand, Graff said it hasn’t always been as easy as it could be for partners to do so.
By offering more types of boards to the channel, Graff said the company’s partners will be more able to compete against large server vendors by offering greater customization. By just a three-fold increase in number of SKUs, Graff said partners could innovate in a multitude of new directions, predicting hundreds of options based on a single motherboard SKU.
“Customers want and need differentiated and focused products, but partners don’t need or want the nightmares of SKU and inventory management,” Graff said. “It’s hard to have your cake and eat it too.”
Along with the new products, Intel plans to expand its software and services options that support partners in the space.
On the software side:
- Intel Multi-Server Manager, slated to launch in March, offers partners a “single pane of glass” remote management console for up to 100 servers.
- By the end of the year, it will introduce Intel Business Continuity Suite, a single GUI that allows partners to manage server hardware, storage and backup, disaster recovery and virtualization in a more graphical way that are offered with currently-available tools.
- Intel will also begin reselling Symantec enterprise software, starting with BackupExec 2010, to its partners. The company has already done this with VMware software, giving solution providers a less expensive way to get those software products due to Intel’s mass buying power.
On the services side:
- The company will add a two-year extension option to its existing three-year warranty. Graff said that such longer lifetime options are often included in RFQs for certain embedded applications, and that not being able to offer it had locked Intel’s server-building partners out of those opportunities.
- It will offer Intel-branded break/fix services through a yet-unnamed partner, starting with select U.S. cities this summer. Graff said the expansion plans for the program would largely depend on how successful the break/fix option is in its initial regions.