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ARMONK, NY - 07 Dec 2006: IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that it is expanding its Virtual Loaner Program (VLP) to include IBM BladeCenter, enabling IBM Business Partners to have free remote access to the latest IBM computing systems to develop new applications without having to invest in added IT infrastructure.
IBM has taken a different approach from competitors by opening up BladeCenter's architecture to create market and revenue opportunities for hundreds of companies selling peripherals like network and storage cards, switches and software. To date more than 700 companies have received the BladeCenter design specifications or are part of the BladeCenter Alliance Program, and more than 80 additional companies have joined Blade.org, a collaborative community working to drive the future of the blade computing. With the Virtual Loaner Program, IBM is offering this growing ecosystem of partners another resource to help accelerate solutions to market.
Unlike other programs that offer remote access to computing resources, IBM's Virtual Loaner Program places no time limitations on its users, who can access on-demand computing power for as long as needed -- this is possible via its save and restore capabilities that enable the user to save their environment and then restore it in the exact configuration with persistent IP addresses in a subsequent reservation. Users can utilize these resources for education, testing, development, product demonstration, evaluation, and to provide proof of concepts for customers. The success of IBM's Virtual Loaner Program, which to date has included resources via IBM System i and System p servers, has resulted in nearly 2000 reservations this year alone from over 500 IBM Business Partners.
"Today's announcement is part of IBM's commitment to building and investing in an ecosystem around blades at a time when analyst firm IDC predicts that one in three servers will be blades by 2010," said Doug Balog, vice president and business line executive, IBM BladeCenter. "IBM business partners, including developers and integrators, are often faced with resource utilization challenges, needing fluctuating amounts of computing power at varying times. Through IBM's Virtual Loaner Program, partners can tap into an on demand infrastructure that saves them money, resources and allows them unmatched flexibility as they work growing client bases."
Partners can access their desired systems through an easy-to-use web interface that draws on IBM servers located in Dallas, Texas. Business Partners make a reservation for the desired systems online, which can be fully operational in as little as fifteen minutes. The program is offered to IBM PartnerWorld members, which includes members of Blade.org, an open community created to develop and advance next-generation solutions for blade servers. NetXen, a Blade.org member, is a leading provider of high-performance networking and protocol processing solutions.
"The VLP will provide a terrific testing and proof-of-concept environment for solution providers," said Vikram Karvat, senior director of marketing, NetXen. "Today's announcement is another example of how the Blade.org ecosystem allows partners to access a wide spectrum of support services, promoting greater innovation."
DLItools, a company that develops web-based Document and Content Management solutions, recently utilized IBM's VLP to validate its DocLogic solution on an IBM computing platform.
"Scheduling access to VLP resources could not have been simpler," said Scott Tomlinson, Marketing and Alliances Director, DLItools. "Everything we needed was ready to go in the exact configuration we requested, and we had all the time we needed to get the job done. The VLP definitely contributed to bringing DocLogic to more IBM platforms faster -- something I'm not sure we could have completed by ourselves."
Another advantage of IBM's Virtual Loaner Program is that Business Partners can remotely access technology that will allow them to offer customers demonstrations regardless of location. For example, partners can offer tradeshow demonstrations without having to deploy dedicated servers to convention centers by accessing the virtual resources they need through the VLP's convenient web interface.
Some examples of the kinds of tasks that are appropriate for Virtual Loaner Program systems today include:
Access to IBM blade server technology through the Virtual Loaner Program is available immediately and includes free access to IBM's software access catalog, featuring over 1,000 IBM applications. All members of IBM PartnerWorld are able to access these resources in a variety of languages in countries around the world. In addition to offering blade servers through the Virtual Loaner Program, IBM will also expand the program to include High Volume System x servers by the end of this year.
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Business partner information including strategic alliances
All customer examples cited or described in this presentation are presented as illustrations of the manner in which some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions.
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