Oracle supports Xserve

Apple Canada plans to continue pursuing non-traditional markets with the introduction of the Xserve G5, scheduled to ship sometime this month. Apple Computer Inc. introduced the newest version of its rack-mountable server with its latest 2-GHz G5 processor at MacWorld in San Francisco. The 64-bit

Xserve G5 ships with 750 GB of storage, the Mac OS X 10.3 operating system, and an unlimited client licence.

“”Everywhere where we sell one of these (Xserve G5) is a very happy extension to something we never would have had before,”” said William Powell, strategic development manager for Apple Canada. “”We’re looking at markets that we just wouldn’t even be able to talk to (before). Xserve represents a really great value and a high performance operating system on high performance hardware.””

And major software developers including Sybase Inc. and Oracle Corp. are taking notice, throwing their support behind Xserve — an increasing trend, said Powell.

“”What you’re seeing with Oracle is that it’s seeing there’s business to be had,”” he said. “”The real beauty is it’s 64-bit, but you can also live in 32-bit land, which is unique. No one else has done this successfully at commodity pricing.””

The three standard configurations of Xserve G5, which can also be customized to meet customer requirements, range from $3,999 to $5,399.

At that price, Apple resellers like Ron Paley, president of Carbon Computing in Toronto, are boasting about Xserve’s cost savings compared to the competition.

“”Apple’s solution for servers rivals anything in the industry at a fraction of the cost of Sun Microsystems,”” he said.

The low cost also makes Xserve an attractive option to the SMB market.

Last year Apple Canada launched a VAR recruitment program, going after resellers in non-traditional Apple markets such as the enterprise in an effort to pump its sales of Xserve, Xserve RAID and Mac OS X server solutions.

“”We’ve ramped up and one of this year’s priority missions is to find VARs who are looking to extend their reach by offering new, unique solutions and, at the same time, we extend our reach,”” he said.

As for plans for the channel, Powell says not much has changed since last year.

“”Apple Canada has taken a unique position in the Apple family,”” he said. “”We’re requiring people to get certified and to sign on with us to specifically sell the product because we definitely want to go after some new markets and it takes some expertise.””

While focusing its initial marketing of Xserve, which debuted in May 2002, on its traditional customer base, Apple has been aggressively targeting niche markets, notably biotechnology.

Powell, however, said Apple will focus on small and medium-size cluster opportunities such as university and corporate research departments, offering them turn-key solutions.

In terms of the server market, Powell says there’s lots of room for growth.

“”We’re going to start to see some new business that we’re going to have to fight for.””

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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