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IBM Canada to relaunch PureFlex solutions

DistributionInfrastructure

ST. JOHN’S, N.F.L.D. – The message from IBM Canada sources is that PureSystems line of pre-configured converged systems is available to everyone.

That message somehow got lost last year when Big Blue announced PureSystems. According to IBM sources the solution provider channel were told that this equipment was an enterprise play with list prices reaching the million dollar mark.

One IBM source told CDN that the total Pure solution was not communicated properly to customers and the channel.

What got lost is the whole Flex portion of the Pure line. PureSystems comprises four solutions: Flex, PureFlex, PureApplication and PureData and these systems were always intended to fit small business up to larger enterprises.

As an example, the Flex system integrates compute, storage and management all into one box that can be built-to-order by Tech Data Canada at a starting price of $30,000.

“This is not hundreds of thousands dollars or millions of dollars. We have solutions for SMB customers,” said Kelly Carter, IBM Canada’s platform leader for PureFlex.

The next step up in the offering is PureFlex that features smart cloud along with integrated storage and that starts at $100,000. The million dollar solutions are on the PureApplication and PureData products.

Carter did address the late to market issue with Flex admitting that Cisco Systems with UCS did get to market ahead of IBM. “Yes, Cisco was first and we were late but so was Apple and the iphone. (PureFlex) is built from the ground up and not pieced together with technology from other players,” she said.

PureSystems can host four different operating systems (AIX, IBM I, Linux, and Windows) along with hypervisors including PowerVM and Xen on Power Architecture and x86.

It also gives the customer the choice of networking solutions such as IBM, Cisco, Juniper and Brocade.

IBM Canada has tried to make up for its lack of communication for Flex by removing the end user reporting task for solution providers. IBM also has sped up its pricing information to solution providers. The subsidiary has set up a daily bid war room. One IBM Canada source said that bids were getting stuck and so they launched a Price-To-Win (PTW) system based on deal size.

The first level of PTW is better than list pricing for deals less than $50,000 and for opportunities larger than $50,000 the solution provider is moved to the PTW 2 level and get 10 to 12 per cent better pricing.

PTW also has an off-the-grid bid desk for what the IBM source said was “foot-in-the-door opportunities.”

There will also be up-front reseller incentives and customer performance rewards. Under this program, solution providers will receive a percentage discount upfront (5%) and a rebate (3%) on the back end. There is also an option to take the margin all upfront at nine per cent.

The new goal for IBM Canada is to push 90 per cent of Flex and PureFlex sales through channel partners. Carter said the mix should be close to 70 per cent Flex and 30 per cent PureFlex.

There will also be a minimum margin policy program for solution providers who work with Tech Data Canada.

This new policy is designed to set levels where margin can’t fall under. This will be determined at distribution, but solution providers could earn up to 20 points on the Flex system with Flex System Manager tool or with PureFlex. Without PureFlex it would be 10 points of margin.