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IBM Offers $1,000 To Switch Blades

There's some small print: How much the incentive is worth to the customer and how it's paid depends on the terms of the deal.

IBM is giving its solution providers new tools and consulting services to help them convert HP server blade customers, including a $1,000 incentive to make the switch.

Juhi Jotwani, director of solutions and alliances for IBM, said the actual mechanics as to how much the incentive is worth to the customer, and how it is paid, depends on the terms of the deal. However, she said that IBM is paying $1,000 direct to the customer for buying IBM blades over HP.

While HP executives were unable to respond directly to IBM's challenge due to their presence at HP's Technology Forum in Houston this week, an HP spokesperson in an e-mail response called IBM's incentive a "knee-jerk reaction" to a recent report by consulting firm IDC that HP's server blade revenue is growing faster than that of IBM.

The spokesperson further said that the $1,000 incentive is probably not enough to sway customers to give up two extra server blades per chassis, two hot-plug SCSI drives per server, extra DIMM slots, and two to four I/O expansion bays per server.

In order to further help customers migrate their server infrastructure from HP server blades to IBM blades, IBM has also set up the IBM Blade Migration Center, staffed with 300 consultants who work with customers and solution providers, Jotwani said.

IBM also is partnering with Toronto-based PlateSpin, developer of PowerConvert, a software application for consolidating physical servers into virtual servers or server blades, Jotwani said. "We're trying to help customers not just migrate from HP to IBM, but to show them the value of physical server to virtual server migration," she said.

Also new from IBM is TileFlow, an application for monitoring and analyzing a data center's power and cooling requirements developed by Innovative Research, Plymouth, Minn. Solution providers can use TileFlow along with IBM's PowerExecutive, an application IBM released a couple months ago, which meters power usage in a data center. "Together, they help customers set automated policies to handle power issues," Jotwani said.

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