IBM Launches Test Lab For Customers

Program will give customers a risk-free way to get comfortable with new Wintel server architectures.
IBM is launching a program under which its top customers will be able to use a company facility to test new Wintel server architectures before committing their own real estate to a project.

Customers "nominated" by IBM or its partners in the initiative, Microsoft and Intel, will be able to use IBM's lab in Kirkland, Wash., as a proving ground for Windows-based server configurations. IBM execs say the program provides customers with a risk-free way to get comfortable with new server technologies. "They won't have to go out and buy a bunch of stuff in advance," says Brian Sanders, IBM's director of xSeries server marketing. The lab will be staffed by 10 to 12 IBM engineers.

IBM plans to ship a 16-way version of its Intel Xeon-powered x440 server this quarter, and Sanders says customers will be able to test entire software stacks on the new hardware at the Kirkland lab, which is near Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., headquarters. E-business applications from vendors such as J.D. Edwards, SAP, and SAS Institute will be available for testing at the site.

IBM will also publish results from some customer tests on its Web sites in cases where the information isn't proprietary, Sanders says. "It won't be just the customers who physically come to the site that will benefit from this program."

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